IT’S amazing that a country as small as the Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food, but it won’t be for much longer. The government of left-wing extremist prime minister Mark Rutte is forcing farmers dramatically to reduce their use of fertilisers, which will result in many going out of business, and is also planning compulsory purchase of farms to shut them down. This action is to implement an order from the European Commission, the reason being that fertilisers release nitrous oxide NO2 into the atmosphere and it has been designated (not proved) to be a greenhouse gas. However, the volume of NO2 in the atmosphere is 335 parts per billion (no, that’s not a typo, it’s a b). This amount is so infinitesimally small as to be virtually non-existent, yet Rutte is determined to devastate his country’s food production to reduce it. How many of those 335ppb will be eliminated by this unilateral action? The recent successes in provincial elections of the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB) political party, formed only four years ago, are a positive reminder that ordinary citizens will not accept such draconian measures. Nevertheless Rutte has doubled down on the plan and on May 2 was backed by the European Commission.
In New South Wales, Australia, the Eraring coal-fired power station provides a quarter of the state’s electricity, 2,800 megawatts round the clock throughout the year. It was due to be closed in 2032 at the end of its planned working life, but is to shut down in two years. Its owner and operator, Origin Energy, has however said that it would consider changing the closedown date should market conditions change. It is to be replaced by a battery which will be able to provide 460 megawatts for two hours! How will it be recharged and how long will it take? There is no mention of a dedicated wind or solar farm so the charging electricity will have to be diverted from the grid.
Australia’s Energy Minister, Chris Bowen, has set a target of 82 per cent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewables within just seven years. To help towards this a hydro project has been started – Snowy Hydro 2.0. This is in effect a battery which will release pumped water from two dams to drive turbines. Unfortunately the electricity this will generate is more than a quarter less than the electricity used to pump water up to the dams. The project was slated to cost around A$4billion when first mooted in 2018 but this has now leapt to over A$20billion (£10.7billion) with a commissioning date disappearing into the distance, but currently estimated to be late 2029. It gets worse, because the above costs do not include the cost of hundreds of miles of power lines needed.
Nuclear power would at least help Australia towards its target, but this has been illegal for decades after a deal between the Greens and Labour. The Greens currently have 11 senators in parliament (out of 75) and wield a lot of power. I do not see nuclear power being adopted in the foreseeable future.
South Africa substantially relies on Western aid to support and expand its supply of electricity. The World Bank stopped financing coal power plants in 2010, and oil and gas extraction projects in 2019. Homes and businesses are enduring 12 hours a day without power. This goes against the Bank’s twin goals: ‘accelerate economic growth and reduce poverty’ announced in 1973 by the then Bank president Robert McNamara. Most of the rest of the African continent is even worse off than SA, with virtually no electricity.
Here are some more developments in the Net Zero madness:
The government agency running Germany’s national grid has insisted that Germans must now accept ‘necessary comfort restrictions’ to facilitate the green transition technologies.
The US government is planning a rule that 67 per cent of new cars sold by 2032 be all-electric.
California’s regulators recently admitted that the state’s strict climate laws aid the affluent, but hurt the poor.
Last winter the Westminster government drew up plans for blackouts, while the National Grid proposed a ‘Demand Flexibility Service’ whereby families would be paid between £10 and £20 to reduce consumption, though only if they had smart meters. The head of the scheme did not rule out using it every winter and suggested that it would drive us ‘forward towards Net Zero’.
The Government wants to cut household demand for water by 25 per cent by 2050, on the grounds that climate change will dry up our reservoirs.
A Herefordshire farmer was prosecuted by the Environment Agency in April and sent to prison for 12 months for dredging 100 yards of his own river bank to prevent the flooding of his neighbours’ properties downstream which the EA had for years refused to do. Yet covering hundreds of hectares of productive farmland with solar panels is quite acceptable.
Mathematician Norman Fenton tweeted an excerpt from a Government-funded report which set out what Net Zero UK might look like: no airports, no shipping, no beef or lamb to eat, and most food imports eliminated. Lots of people thought it sounded grim and the tweet went viral, garnering over three million views.
The Government wants to ban new oil boilers by 2026 and new gas boilers by 2035. Homeowners will be left on their own to bear the full costs of replacing these with heat pumps when the (inadequate) government support grants end.
Last year, the Greater London Authority sent letters to property developers warning that it might have to restrict the number of homes being built because the data centres along the M4 were using so much electricity. This highlights another big flaw in the Net Zero agenda: the exponential increase in electricity demand from home and commercial computer use, data storage and data harvesting.
Octopus Energy, with financial backing from Abu Dhabi, is proposing the installation of 12million solar panels, 530 wind turbines and battery storage in Morocco, and connecting it to Britain with a 2,300-mile undersea cable, all up and running by 2030. A similar proposed project in Australia to sell electricity from a solar farm in Alice Springs to Singapore, a distance of 2,700 miles as the crow flies, has recently been abandoned. You just can’t beat the laws of physics.
Unfortunately the above are just a sample of the actions being taken in the West and in many cases being forced by governments upon their citizens. More are being announced every day.
I don’t like writing about problems without offering solutions, so here they are. Most are simple and would cost the government very little.
- Repeal the Climate Change Act;
- Disband the Climate Change Committee;
- Immediately give the go-ahead for fracking;
- Rescind all regulations preventing exploration and production in the North Sea and actively encourage it by instigating a tax regime which makes it attractive to explore for oil, natural gas and coal;
- Cancel windfall taxes on the oil and gas producers: it is a tax on risk-taking and on providing long-term futures for capital investment;
- Start building 20 coal-fired and gas-fired power stations;
- Incentivise Rolls-Royce to speed up the construction and rollout of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs). Do not put this out to tender because it will cause at least a two-year delay, one year to get the bids and a year to evaluate them, and France would probably win by foul means. It has been acknowledged that France won the Australian submarine contract (since cancelled by the government) with false claims and promises;
- Cancel all permits for wind and solar farms which have not yet started construction.
The above actions will need to be accompanied by a major government ‘child’s guide’ publicity drive to inform the public about the man-made global warming hoax and what CO2 actually does to the climate and agriculture. This will be particularly necessary to counter the huge pile-on from all the organisations, corporations, virtue signallers, rent seekers and those whose reputations will be in tatters, for example the United Nations, wind turbine builders, wind farm developers and the thousands of others riding the gravy train of this scam. Roger Arthur’s excellent TCW article would be a good basis for this.
This brings us to the overriding problem, which is to find the right political leaders and galvanise them into action. Unfortunately, for this I do not have a solution.