Sunday, April 12, 2009

Slipping over the edge

There can be no doubt about it – there is a madness gripping the political classes, which bodes ill for us all.

One of the latest instalments is brought to us by Booker, who brings home the reality of Gordon Brown's "green" budget.

The problem is that he is not on is own, with a similar madness gripping US president Obama, both he and Brown having their countries within 40 years to cutting back "carbon emissions" to a level 80 percent below where it was in 1990 (which would put America back to its CO2 emission level in 1905).

What is really disturbing, writes Booker, is how each of these men has been persuaded link the economic crisis with the green agenda, so that the latter is now being positioned as the answer to our financial woes.

In the UK, this came to us via a budget leak so serious that in former times it would have been a cause for resignation, as Brown revealed that a "major part" of the plan to revive our economy to be announced by Alistair Darling in his budget on 22 April will be the creation of "400,000 green jobs" by switching to a "low carbon economy".

Bizarrely – and there is no more appropriate a word for it - Brown seems particularly excited by the idea that we should all drive electric cars, and inevitably everyone has been piling in to point out what a farce this is.

But last year sales of all-electric cars in Britain fell to just 179. The Indian G-Wiz, much fancied by Mr Brown and Boris Johnson, costs up to £15,795 for a vehicle which can only travel rather slowly for 75 miles before its battery needs several hours of recharging.

What puts this madness in a league of its own, however, is the failure of Brown to ask himself where all this planet-saving electricity is to come from. Yet, as Prof Stanley Fieldman explains in a letter in The Daily Telegraph, it comes of course from the National Grid, 75 percent powered by fossil fuels. Taking account of transmission losses, the CO2 emissions would be nearly twice those of the equivalent amount of diesel.

But this is only a start of the madness. When it comes to the 400,000 "green jobs" Brown is going to create, Ben Pile in the Register demonstrates that this is even more of a pipe dream than those toy cars.

For instance, the Government apparently thinks that, by 2015, 39,600 new jobs will be created in "geothermal energy", 74,900 in making "alternative fuels", 25,300 in making energy from the sun and another 69,300 in erecting wind turbines.

It comes to something that Booker's words to describe this fantasy are "babyish make-believe" – yet this is supposed to be serious policy from grown-up government. It does not even qualify as "infantile".

Thanks to the drying up of credit and the collapsing pound (most of the technology has to be bought from abroad), our "renewables industry" is now in such a crisis that five of Britain's largest wind projects have recently been abandoned or put on hold, while BP is axing 620 jobs from its solar energy division because it is so uneconomic.

Furthermore, the "£100 billion green energy package" announced by Brown last year is set to raise the 14 percent of our electricity bills we already pay for "renewables" to 32 percent. For industry it will be 55 percent.

Then, each of the 25,000 new jobs the government hopes to create in "waste management" will cost us £1.2 million – although this also is fantasy. It is not going to happen.

But if Brown is bad, Obama is worse. He is not only fixated on electric cars, his target from "green jobs" is five million, a job creating scheme on a heroic scale. Here, though Duke University, partly financed by warmist lobby groups, inadvertently pricks the bubble.

The five main sources of all those new jobs will be "LED lighting", "high performance windows", "auxiliary power units for long-haul trucks", "solar power" and "super soil systems, or new technology for treating hog wastes".

Booker argues that the only real way Obama could create his new jobs would be to erect giant treadmills and employ five million Americans to run up and down generating power.

The really terrifying thing is that Brown and Obama look like adults and they sound like adults. But if this is all they have to offer, then – as Booker avers - truly our western civilisation is now slipping over the edge.