Farmer rebellions in the Netherlands, Macron calling for an end to green EU laws, Germany returning to coal, the EU U-turning on the combustion engine ban, new drilling in the North Sea – the signs are all around that the world has passed Peak Green, says Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph. Here’s an excerpt.
A few days ago, I received an email from my local council offering ‘climate anxiety’ therapy for those worried about global warming. It was too interesting an invitation to refuse. A ‘climate psychologist’ convened the group and asked for their feelings: afraid, angry, helpless and guilty were the main words offered. Such anxiety is natural, he said, but can be remedied by “distancing” oneself from negative climate news. He didn’t quite say how such a feat could be achieved.
For children it would mean avoiding school, where much of this is now built into the curriculum. It would also mean avoiding television or radio news, seldom short of climate gloom. This week, for example, the BBC announced that the planet is “predicted to pass the 1.5 degree global warming threshold in the next few years”, a tipping point after which terrible effects become irreversible. This was followed up by a guest saying how global warming would be worse for Europe than Bangladesh. But the balancing good news – of which there is plenty – was never mentioned.
We’re now familiar with the lack of scrutiny or perspective when the subject is discussed. Some newspapers tell writers to avoid neutral phrases like ‘climate change’ and instead say ’emergency’, ‘crisis’ or ‘breakdown’. Politicians have tended to compete with each other to see who can ring the alarm the loudest. Ed Miliband wanted to decarbonise electricity by 2030; Theresa May made Britain one of the few countries in the world with a legal target to hit Net Zero by 2050. But just how much would this cost? No one was really told.
Now, the bill is beginning to land – and reality beginning to bite. Dutch farmers recently drove tractors into The Hague to protest against its green diktats. In Germany, where the war in Ukraine has brought a new energy realpolitik, wind turbines are being dismantled to make way for an expanded coal mine. Sweden’s 27-year-old environment minister has been quietly diluting the green laws she inherited. Emmanuel Macron – famously chastened by the gilets jaunes – last week called on the EU to stop its barrage of green legislation, saying that enough is enough. We might just have passed Peak Green.
It’s all moving quite quickly. Last autumn, Germany signed an EU target to ban the sale of internal combustion engine cars by 2035. It now opposes the idea, as do Italy, Poland and Czechia. That’s not to say the green agenda is collapsing under the pressure of public scorn: it’s simply being subjected to the kind of scrutiny that was never applied in the first place. How much will it cost? What will it achieve? Germany’s transport minister has been making a good argument: what’s the point in electric cars if the power that drives them comes from burning coal?
Rishi Sunak has been quietly dialling down the green agenda he inherited from Boris Johnson, using the language of Net Zero while adding his own dose of realism. He has created the ‘Department for Energy Security and Net Zero’ – the first part of the job being the most important. So he has authorised new drilling in the North Sea and even the opening of a new coal mine in Cumbria, both projects over which Johnson prevaricated. His recent energy security speech was given in a fusion research centre in Oxfordshire: a nod to his hopes for technology, not diktats, to make the green running.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Ross Clark takes up a similar theme in this week’s Spectator, saying ‘Europe is turning against Net Zero‘.