AS most people know, a massive amount of material relating to the Budget is published later, and often this ‘small print’ contains interesting details not mentioned by the Chancellor in Parliament.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) have now published the data underlying this month’s Budget. As always it includes a section euphemistically called Environmental Levies, otherwise known as renewable subsidies. These include subsidies paid via the Renewables Obligation mechanism and Contracts for Difference (CfD). The latter is projected to be a negative subsidy this year, on the assumption that the wholesale price of electricity is higher than the guaranteed strike prices paid via CfD. In reality, current wholesale prices are lower.
There is also the cost of paying for standby generators via the Capacity Market, which is necessary because of the intermittency of wind and solar power. All these Environmental Levies are added to our electricity bills. (The green gas levy will kick in next year.)
Although not shown in the Environmental Levies section, the subsidies paid out through Feed-in Tariffs (subsidies for smaller renewable generators) and the Climate Change Levy, a charge on electricity generators who use fossil fuels, are also added to energy bills.
The OBR include the RHI, subsidies for people installing things like biomass boilers, although this is actually funded from general taxation.
All in all, a total of £12.4billion this year, equivalent to £460 for every household in the country. Not all of this appears on our domestic energy bills, as households use only about a third of the electricity generated. Businesses and the public sector also have to pay extra, but the public end up paying the bill anyway through higher prices and taxes.
But it does not stop there! All generators who use fossil fuels also have to pay for carbon permits, via the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), currently priced at £84/tonne CO2. This means that a typical CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) power plant pays what is effectively a carbon tax of £31/MWh, which amounts to a quarter of the wholesale price of electricity.
Put another way, the carbon tax adds about £10billion to electricity bills, because gas power tends to set the market price most of the time. This figure is not shown anywhere in the OBR’s Economic & Fiscal Outlook Budget report, even though it increases energy bills as a direct result of government policy. (The OBR’s rule is that these sort of costs should be included in Environmental Levies, as the other subsidies are).
And let’s be clear. This carbon tax has increased from around £15/tonne three years ago, solely because of a deliberate government decision to reduce the emissions cap, the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by sectors covered by the scheme. *
This step was taken in tandem with the EU, where carbon prices have rocketed as well in the last couple of years. The stated objective is to force the use of fossil fuels out of the system.
Most of the media have been strangely silent about all of this. But the public would be shocked to learn that they are paying £800 per household every year to fund this nonsense.
* I should point out that all decisions regarding the ETS must be agreed by all four UK governments – Westminster, Scotland, Wales and N Ireland.
The end of the world is nigh (again!)
THE UN has released the latest IPCC climate change report, and, just as they tell us every time, it’s worse than we thought!
CNN reports: ‘The world is rapidly approaching catastrophic levels of heating with international climate goals set to slip out of reach unless immediate and radical action is taken, according to a new UN-backed report. “The climate time-bomb is ticking,” said António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in a statement to mark the launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s synthesis report on Monday. “Humanity is on thin ice – and that ice is melting fast,” he added. “This report is the most dire and troubling assessment yet of the spiralling climate impacts we all face if systemic changes are not made now,” Sara Shaw, program coordinator at Friends of the Earth International, said in a statement. The impacts of planet-warming pollution are already more severe than expected and we are hurtling towards increasingly dangerous and irreversible consequences, the report says.’
This latest report is nothing new, merely the summary agreed by governments of the original AR6 scientific report published two years ago. And in AR6 there was nothing to justify this sort of hyperbole.
Yes, the climate has warmed slightly since the Little Ice Age, but there is no evidence whatsoever that weather is becoming more extreme across the board, and undoubtedly some regions have benefited from the warming.
The claim that we are approaching catastrophic levels of heating is patently absurd, given that we have already had 1C of warming, which the human race has somehow managed to survive intact! Another half a degree will barely be noticeable.
And, of course, for years we have been inundated with ludicrous predictions of catastrophe. Here’s just a small selection:
In 1989, for instance: ‘A senior UN environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. He said governments have a ten-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.’
In 1995, based on the first IPCC report, experts claimed: ‘At the most likely rate of rise most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years.’
In 2006, Al Gore claimed that ‘unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next ten years, the world will reach a point of no return’.
The UN was at it again in 2008, with the President of the General Assembly saying: ‘It has been estimated that there would be between 50 million and 200 million environmental migrants by 2010.’
Most absurd of all was a Pentagon report on climate change in 2004, which claimed:
• By 2007 violent storms would smash coastal barriers, rendering large parts of the Netherlands uninhabitable. Cities such as The Hague would have to be abandoned.
• Between 2010 and 2020, Europe would be hardest hit by climatic change, with an average annual temperature drop of 6°F (3°C). Climate in Britain would become colder and drier, as weather patterns began to resemble Siberia.
• Deaths from war and famine would run into the millions, until the population had been reduced sufficiently to allow the Earth to cope.
• Riots and internal conflict would tear apart India, South Africa and Indonesia.
• A ‘significant drop’ in the planet’s ability to sustain its present population would become apparent over the next 20 years.
• Millions would be prevented from growing crops, either by climate change directly or by sea-level rise. Rich areas such as the US and Europe would become ‘virtual fortresses’ to prevent millions of climate migrants.
• Mega-droughts would affect the world’s major breadbaskets, including America’s Midwest, where strong winds would bring soil loss.
• China’s huge population and food demand made it particularly vulnerable. Bangladesh would become nearly uninhabitable because of rising sea levels.
The UN becomes ever more desperate and its message increasingly apocalyptic, as most of the world continues to ignore its message and carries on with business as usual.
Climate sense from Sky News Australia
UNLIKE the lackeys in the British media, Sky News Australia regularly cover sceptical views about climate change.
Atmospheric physicist Professor Richard Lindzen was interviewed by Andrew Bolt this week on the latest IPCC report. The video can be seen here.