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Virtue-signalling MPs make a mess of our energy policy - by Philip Johnston for the Telegraph

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Even we never dreamt our web-site name - BringItBack – would become official government policy quite so soon. As the folly of relying on those who wish to destroy us finally dawns on the political class, Philip Johnston outlines the abrupt volte-face in energy policy now taking place at the top of government. Gears are crunching and sparks flying as previous commitments are now wrenched into reverse:

“The so-called “net zero” commitment was the last act of Theresa May before she stepped down as prime minister in July 2019 but has been enthusiastically endorsed by her successor in a series of speeches and announcements. Until now, that is. Boris Johnson says there needs to be a new supply strategy in response to the energy crunch caused by Russia’s invasion, and he wants a temporary “climate change pass” to help manage the difficulties it has caused.”

But even here the government has only half-learned its lesson. Instead of concentrating on domestic production, the Prime Minister still seems intent on importing energy elsewhere – albeit from ‘friendly’ sources:

“He vouchsafed his new approach in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica and the German publication Die Welt last week. “We need a collective European strategy and a Western strategy to diversify away from this dependence,” Johnson reportedly said. “There are other sources ... in North America, in Canada, in the Gulf.”

And in the UK, he might have added, but didn’t. Here, in a nutshell, was Britain’s green policy: we can make commitments to decarbonise our own energy supplies while importing the same products from other countries.”

And therein lies the crunch:

“It is the antithesis of energy security: a reliance on others to provide fuel for industry, heating and motoring while ignoring the available resources under our own feet. It is telling that on his list of alternatives is the Gulf, hardly the most stable of regions.

Britain relies on liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar to supplement pipeline supplies from Norway and the EU. This market-based import strategy follows the deliberate run-down of our own reserves, even though gas accounts for 40 per cent of UK electricity generation and heats the majority of homes.”

What if these new sources prove less than reliable?

“It is all well and good relying on LNG from Qatar, but if there were tensions in the Gulf between Israel and Iran over nuclear weapons, Tehran could block the Straits of Hormuz, stopping supplies of LNG.

Anyone who says this is an unlikely scenario was presumably offering assurances to all who would listen that Russian would never invade Ukraine. The point is that you never know what might happen, which is why we need to secure our own supplies as much as possible.

Boris Johnson will publish the government’s new energy supply ‘in days.’ This will give the go-ahead to North Sea oil and gas fields which have been awaiting approval. But this should be only the first in a series of steps including

“the moratorium on shale gas extraction, or fracking, but almost certainly won’t, denying the country an energy source that Mr Johnson himself once saw as our salvation.

It should include a feasibility study of thorium-based nuclear reactors, using a fuel which is cleaner, cheaper and safer than uranium but which has always been blocked on cost grounds.

It should include proper storage facilities: the decision to close the Rough facility in the North Sea and rely on contracted deliveries or the spot market was a massive mistake. It should include a re-examination of tidal barrage power dismissed in the past as too expensive but which looks cheap compared with the likely long-term costs of oil and gas.

Tides in the UK are higher than almost anywhere in the world and can be harnessed every day under any conditions, unlike solar or wind power. The sea will rise and fall with metronomic precision twice a day until the Earth stops spinning and the Moon drops out of the sky.”

The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:

Article for the Telegraph by Philip Johnston - Virtue-signalling MPs could hardly have mad
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