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Monday, 16 April 2012

Climate Clips from CCnet & Benny Peiser

Britain’s Anti-Green Rollback Accelerating

‘Chris Huhne’s Zealous Ambition Is Being Reined Back’

Ministers are preparing to veto major new wind farms in the British countryside and cut back their subsidies, according to senior Whitehall sources. The decision to pull back from onshore wind farms comes after more than 100 backbench Conservative MPs mounted a rebellion against turbines blighting rural areas. Senior Conservatives have seen an opportunity to re-think policy since Chris Huhne, the former Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, resigned to fight charges of perverting the course of justice in a speeding case. “Chris Huhne’s zealous ambition is being reined back,” one top Whitehall source said. “There’s already enough being built and developed." --Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 16 April 2012

Ministers are to scrap plans for a ‘conservatory tax’ following a massive Tory backlash. A senior Government source told the Mail that the proposals are ‘dead in the water’. This latest abrupt U-turn comes only a week after we revealed the move which would force homeowners to fork out hundreds of pounds extra on measures to improve energy efficiency when they build an extension or fit a boiler. Although the Liberal Democrat-inspired plans are still out for consultation, the source said: ‘We are absolutely not going to have a conservatory tax. It is an attack on aspiration and we want nothing to do with it. It will be blocked.’ --Jason Groves,Daily Mail, 16 April 2012

A powerful group of Conservative ministers has launched an attempt to torpedo the coalition’s flagship “green” home improvement scheme in a move which will spark a major new rift with the Liberal Democrats. Leading Tories inside and outside the cabinet believe the £14 billion “Green Deal” – due to start in six months’ time – must be ditched because it risks leaving key “squeezed middle” voters out of pocket by several thousands of pounds. A senior Tory source told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “The Green Deal was Chris Huhne’s baby. He has gone now and this is the right time to kill it off. Forcing people to pay thousands of pounds extra for unwanted home insulation is the last thing hard-pressed families need at the moment. It’s madness.” --Patrick Hennessy, The Sunday Telegraph, 15 April 2012

The recent setbacks reflect deep confusion over the main governing party's direction on green policy. Chancellor George Osborne has repeatedly taken the side against green subsidies. MPs and Lords are under near-constant lobbying [the Guardian's phrase for CCNet] from Lord Lawson's climate sceptic group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. One prominent Tory MP said: "As someone who's convinced by the science, and wants to tackle climate change, I'm finding myself an endangered species within my own party." --Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 16 April 2012

It did not take long. Last month, Matt Ridley argued in a Spectator cover story that the wind farm agenda is in effect dead, having collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions. The only question is when our ministers would realise. In an interview with the Sunday Times, climate change minister Greg Barker admits that his department has adopted an ‘unbalanced’ approach to wind farms and will now look at other options.  To Ridley, this was – at root – an intellectual error. An example of how the establishment, and entire government machine, can sponsor something that makes no economic or environmental sense – but no one dares point this out, because the cause is seen as noble. --Fraser Nelson, The Spectator, 15 April 2012

To an almost audible sigh of relief from householders across the land, the Government has now promised to scrap its hare-brained scheme to impose a spurious environmental ‘tax’ on home improvements. The proposal was to force anyone building an extension or conservatory, or installing new windows or a boiler, to spend a small fortune putting in extra insulation. It was all part of the Coalition’s largely bogus Green agenda which also involves covering large swathes of the countryside with pointless wind farms, risking an energy crisis by dithering over building a new generation of nuclear power stations, and trying to tax air travel to death. But while the U-turn marks a welcome outbreak of common sense, why on earth was the tax ever contemplated? --Editorial, Daily Mail, 16 April 2012

Emperor penguins, whose long treks across Antarctic ice to mate have been immortalised by Hollywood, are heading towards extinction, scientists say. Based on predictions of sea ice extent from climate change models, the penguins are likely to see their numbers plummet by 95% by 2100. That level of decline could wreak havoc on the delicate Antarctic food chain. The research is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. --BBC News, 26 January 2009

Nearly twice as many emperor penguins inhabit Antarctica as was thought. UK, US and Australian scientists used satellite technology to trace and count the iconic birds, finding them to number almost 600,000. The extent of sea ice in the Antarctic has been relatively stable in recent years (unlike in the Arctic), although this picture hides some fairly large regional variations. --Jonathan Amos, BBC News, 13 April 2012

Many know Benny Peiser only as the pesky director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation who routinely embarrasses man-made climate change diehards with his weekly compilation of green policy flops -- washouts such as Solon, Q-Cells, Solar Millennium and Solarhybrid. These are all once-thriving German solar energy firms that recently filed for bankruptcy, like America's Solyndra. The irreverent Peiser email report usually consists of a half-dozen or so stinging mainstream news clips with links, chosen partly because they include a "Benny" -- a ready-made, slap-in-the-face headline -- such as the London Daily Telegraph's "Climate scientists are losing the public debate on global warming." But every now and then, a wickedly droll "Double Benny" headline will unexpectedly pop up. --Ron Arnold, The Washington Examiner, 13 April 2012

1) Anti-Green Rollback: Ministers Preparing To Veto Windfarms - The Daily Telegraph, 16 April 2012

2) U-Turn: Government To Scrap Green Tax On Home Extensions - Daily Mail, 16 April 2012

3) Top Tories Try To Torpedo Green Deal - The Sunday Telegraph, 15 April 2012

4) UK Energy Minister Vows: ‘No More Wind Farms’ (On Land) - The Sunday Times, 15 April 2012

5) Fraser Nelson: Downfall - The Spectator, 15 April 2012

6) London Debate Tomorrow: EU Climate Policy – Priority or Backseat? - European Centre for Energy and Resource Security

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