In my Spectator column this week I’ve run an idea up the flagpole: Why not start a group of militant, anti-Net Zero protestors. We could call it ‘Just Stop Snake Oil’. It was inspired by listening to Lord Frost’s Global Warming Policy Foundation annual lecture in which he laid bare just how ruinous the Government’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 was likely to be. Here’s an extract:
During the Q&A that followed the lecture, I asked Lord Frost if we should take a leaf out of our opponents’ book and set up a militant anti-green-activist group. The eco-protestors say their reason for disrupting major sporting events and holding up traffic is to stop people ignoring the ‘climate emergency’, a rationale I’ve always found baffling, since the professional-managerial class talk about nothing else and the public is bombarded with environmentalist propaganda 24/7.
But net-zero sceptics like me genuinely are a beleaguered minority, unable to get a hearing in the public square. In fact, we are exactly who the eco-protestors imagine themselves to be – concerned citizens desperately trying to draw attention to an impending disaster, but dismissed as ‘alarmists’ by policy-makers. So while the antisocial behaviour of Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain makes little sense – they’re like pro-communist protestors in Soviet Russia – similar antics by climate contrarians could make an impact. If I unfurl a giant banner outside the Green party’s Brighton headquarters saying ‘Just Stop Snake Oil’, people might sit up and take notice. At the very least, it would draw attention to the fact that there is another side to this debate.
Not surprisingly, Lord Frost wasn’t convinced. It was bad enough having to contend with the eco-loons wreaking havoc on our roads and bridges, he said, without the provisional wing of the Global Warming Policy Foundation adding to the chaos. In any event, he didn’t think that trying to disrupt the Derby did the other side’s cause much good. Wouldn’t it be better to let them continue to lose friends and alienate people? By all means ridicule them, he said. But for God’s sake don’t imitate them.
I’m not so sure. Judging from the reluctance of juries to convict eco-protestors, the public seems pretty sympathetic. Yes, commuters may be unimpressed by someone lying in the road when they’re late for work, but many admire the activists’ courage and commitment. According to an Omnisis poll published last year, two-thirds of people support taking non-violent direct action to protect Britain’s environment and 75 per cent are in favour of installing solar panels on farmland. More recently, Ipsos found that 84 per cent of Britons are concerned about climate change and more than half think we should aim to achieve net zero sooner than 2050. It looks to me as if the tactics of the pink-haired militants are succeeding.
Worth reading in full.