Sunday, April 03, 2011
Politically, we already know we are powerless. But, we are now looking at another way of being powerless. Thus, writes Booker, we are fast approaching that long overdue moment when the country wakes up to the scale of the disaster we are being led into by the absurdly unreal, global-warming-obsessed energy policy of our "greenest ever government".
One of the more disturbing instances of this was the announcement tucked away in George Osborne's Budget that he will impose a "£16 a ton floor price for carbon", a measure seemingly so arcane that no one has really bothered to spell out its implications – or so says Booker.
Actually, this is something the media have never really got their heads round. They have lamentably failed to understand that since the system involves the creation of "carbon allowances", which have to be purchased by major industries and electricity generators, with the proceeds going to government, this is a tax by any other name.
And although the media is quick to squeak about "stealth taxes", unless you actually gift-wrap it, with a nice big label marked "tax", the babies don't know what to make of it. So even though it is quite obviously a tax, this is one the media have consistently missed.
What Booker points out, though, is that the "floor price" means that for every ton of CO2 emitted by British industry, and by our electricity companies in particular, we shall all indirectly have to pay what is in effect a hidden tax of £16, rising over the next nine years to £30.
Last year, the coal-fired power stations which supply nearly a third of our electricity used 40 million tons of coal, each emitting up to 2.9 tons of CO2. For this 116 million tons, we shall see nearly £2 billion added to our electricity bills.
The same tax on gas will add a further £1 billion to our bills, thus increasing them by a total of £3 billion a year, rising to £5 billion by 2020. This will add more than 25 per cent to the price we presently pay for electricity, or £200 a year for every household.
This is on top of the price we will have to pay for all the Government’s other “green” dreams, such as the £100 billion it wants spent on 10,000 giant wind turbines, plus another £40 billion to hook them up to the grid. The 100 per cent subsidies for onshore wind power and 200 per cent subsidies for offshore will add further billions to our bills, in return for what will still be only a fraction of the electricity we need.
The effect of this is, of course, going to be traumatic, but it is also going to disadvantage energy intensive manufacturers, to the extent that many will offshore, cutting back employment and the tax base.
However, the response of Euroslime Dave and his merry men is just as babyish as the media, leaving us with nowhere to go except increasing utility bills. By the time they have stuffed us with smart meters as well, and all the other add-ons, electricity – even if you can get it – will become an unaffordable luxury.
I really cannot see this happening without a reckoning though, which means these babies do not know what is about to hit them. That, at least, should be entertaining to watch, when it finally happens.