Opposition Grows to EU Holiday Tax

leaving the hotel for the flight
The EU Doesn’t Approve – image by Holidayextras via Flickr

The US has called a meeting of countries opposed to the EU’s carbon tax on airlines.

The countries opposed to the tax also include China, India and Russia. All the countries that matter in the world, in other words.

There are international treaties against taxing flights. Obviously, though, treaties don’t matter to the EU, given that it has been quite willing to depose its own governments when they weren’t “austere” enough.

So the EU unilaterally imposed their carbon tax. Airlines will get bills starting in April next year.

The Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) creates permits for carbon emissions. Airlines that exceed their allowances will have to buy extra permits, as an incentive to airlines to pollute less.

The number of permits is reduced over time, so that the total CO2 output from airlines in European airspace falls.

The EU says that the new scheme will add between £3 and £19 to the cost of a long haul airline ticket.

That’s just the start, of course. In the long run, they intend to add a lot more; their aim is to stop the plebs flying. They intend to do it by pricing them out of flight tickets.

Yes, it’s just the plebs of course. The Eurocrats will go on majestically flying at taxpayers’ expense.

The EU may not succeed with this scheme. China has already passed a law making it illegal for their airlines to buy EU emissions permits. The other countries opposed to it – India, the US, Russia – are powerful.

Even they, though are not objecting to a new flight tax per se. They are objecting to the EU’s imposing it unilaterally.

The next target for the EU-championed climate change scam is your holiday.

Cheer up though. There is a chance that the coming implosion of the Euro may yet destroy the Evil Empire of Europe.

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The Acid Rain Solution to Global Warming

Gibson Station
Image by Duke Energy via Flickr

Duke Energy’s Gibson Coal Fired Power Station – The Latest Solution to Global Warming?

The BBC reports a setback for scientific work into an opportunity to combat global warming.

The idea is to spray sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere. A balloon would be tethered at high altitude, with a hose dangling from it. Sulphates would be squirted up the hose and sprayed out in the upper atmosphere.

There was to be a test of the principle, spraying water rather than sulphates, but that has now been postponed for discussions about the “social context” of the research.

A comment from an environmental activist, quoted in the article, makes clear what they mean by discussions about the social context.

Helena Paul, co-director of environment group EcoNexus, said she was “really pleased” at the latest news.

“We are certainly not ready to carry out experiments, and this project should not just be delayed, but should be cancelled immediately,” she told BBC News.

“This is particularly important because while the scientists involved keep saying that reducing emissions is the primary necessity, they risk distracting attention from that necessity at a crucial moment.”

The experiment is being postponed because it has attracted the attention of the priests of the global warming religion.

More important, though, is the sheer sillinesss of the suggestion in the first place.

Those of us old enough to remember the days when people were concerned about real environmental issues, can remember a great deal of worry about “acid rain”. We were told that our power stations were emitting sulphates, which turned into sulphuric acid in the atmosphere and were apparently killing our trees. There was lots of worry about whether the German Black Forest would survive.

As a result of those fears, our coal fired power stations now have “scrubbers” fitted to remove the sulphates from the smoke they emit.

If those scientists want to spray sulphates into the air, there is a much simpler way than these new methods they are now researching. Just remove those scrubbers and you can have as much sulphates as you want. It really does not make sense to force power station operators to spend large amounts of money removing sulphates, and then spend more deliberately spraying sulphates.

But the research is supported with £1.6 million of taxpayer’s money. Remember that next time you hear some scientist bleating about how the government ought to spend more on research.

Getting Energy Bills Down – Or Up – Or Something

David Cameron and Chris Huhne outside DECC
Image by DECCgovuk via Flickr

David Cameron and His Friend Chris Huhne – Confused About Energy Bills

David Cameron has called for action to cut energy bills.

The government needs to work “harder and faster” to bring down energy bills, the prime minister has said ahead of a summit on gas and electricity prices.

Meanwhile, “green taxes” are already adding 5% to our electricity bills, and that is expected to triple over the next few years.

Obviously, when the government itself is deliberately adding to electricity bills, it is a bit rich for the Prime Minister to be saying they need to “work harder and faster” to bring down those bills.

But it is even more stark than that. The purpose of the green taxes is to increase our bills. They are not in place to raise revenue. They are there to encourage people to use less energy by increasing bills.

The government is using green taxes to increase energy bills, to reduce consumption, while at the same time putting pressure on suppliers to reduce bills.

Even on its own terms, the government has two directly contradictory policies on energy. They want cheaper bills – and they want more expensive bills.

What is more, this is not a case of one part of government pursing one policy, while another works in the opposite direction. The Energy Secretary is Chris Huhne. It is he who has been pursuing both these contradictory policies.

Mr Cameron may get nice headlines today for standing up for hard-pressed consumers. But in the long run, as Mr Huhne’s demonstrably ridiculous policies unravel, Mr Cameron may rue the day he became drawn into the whole mess.

The Energy Saving Trust’s Latest Wheeze

Solar water heater plumbing overview
Image by RJL20 via Flickr

Solar Thermal Water Heating System

The government’s new subsidy system for installation of solar heating systems comes on line today.

This is completely separate from the FiT scheme, which rewards people who install solar electricity generation systems with a huge subsidy of many times the value of the energy generated.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am highly sceptical about the whole man-made global warming thing. But I will suspend my disbelief for the duration of this post. Let’s imagine that the whole thing is true, and that if we don’t reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we will destroy the planet.

Now let’s look at this new scheme. There are quite a few figures here, but bear with me.

Says the BBC:

People who opt for greener methods such as biomass boilers and solar panels can apply to the £15m Premium Payment fund set up to support 25,000 installations.

But wait. £15 million divided by 25,000 installations makes just £60 per installation.

The scheme makes the following grants available:

Ground Source Heat Pump – £1,250
Biomass boiler – £950
Air source heat pump – £850
Solar thermal hot water panels – £300

Thus even if every grant application is for the cheapest type of system, the solar thermal hot water, then the real number of grants available will be not 25,000 but 5,000.

Let’s now turn to the details of each installation.

According to the Energy Saving Trust, who will run the new scheme, the average cost of a solar thermal system is £4,800, and it will reduce your gas bill by £50 a year if you heat your water with gas (as most people do).

So even after the £300 subsidy, the cost is £4,500 and the system takes a massive 90 years to pay for itself. Of course, the system will be on the local refuse tip long before then, having worn out. Indeed, it is likely that your house will have been demolished before then, since houses are designed to last just 70 years.

Thus it is extremely unlikely that anyone will be persuaded to install a system by this subsidy. The only people who might go ahead are people who would have gone ahead anyway, aiming to improve their green credentials.

But what about those green credentials? Are these systems even as green as they claim?

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that if you heat your water by electricity, you will save £80 a year and reduce your CO2 by 570 kg.

At 10p per kW-hr, a saving of £80 a year implies you should be saving about 800 kW-hr per year.

The UK produces about 400g of CO2 per kW-hr of electricity generated.

That means 800 kW-hr equates to emissions of 320 kg of carbon dioxide, not 570 kg. So it looks like the carbon emission savings are a bit more than half what they claim.

And what about the carbon emissions involved in manufacturing and installing the system? None of those emissions have been taken into account by the Energy Saving Trust. Neither have they taken into account their own carbon emissions in administering the scheme. Woops. Even a humble packet of crisps has a carbon footprint of 75g, so the footprint of a solar thermal system is likely to be quite significant.

The carbon emissions from manufacture, installation and even the scheme itself will further reduce the benefit.

A quick summary is that all their figures are absolute nonsense, even on their own terms.

They will only help at most a fifth of the number of schemes that they claim, the claimed carbon dioxide savings per installation are highly questionable, and the subsidy probably won’t add to the number of systems being installed.

This scheme is of course supported by the solar thermal system installers, who make a living out of it.

And it creates jobs in the Energy Saving Trust – who also make money out of certifying products as energy efficient – up to £1,000 per product certified.

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New Flight Taxes Are There To Stop You Flying

Cabopino beach, Costa del Sol, Spain 2005 11.jpg
Image via Wikipedia

Green Campaigners Want to Stop All This. They Should be Honest About It.

The Sunday Express has been campaigning to lower flight taxes. They have been working with the Airport Operators’ Association on the campaign, called Hands Off Our Holidays, Mr Taxman!

The Express wants Air Passenger Duty reduced, claiming that in Britain it is eight and a half times the European average.

Yesterday, they also brought the EU Emissions Trading Scheme into the picture. This is being extended to flights next year (in flagrant contravention, by the way, of the international agreement that forbids taxation of aviation fuel).

Here is what the Express said:

Next year will also see the EU emissions trading scheme extended to cover aviation. Analysts have calculated that will add between £5 and £7 to the cost of a fare based on a forward cost of carbon at between £14 and £21 per ton. As the cost of carbon increases, so will air fares.

The EU tax will be added on top of air passenger duty, which is already hundreds of pounds higher than in the rest of Europe, America and Australia.

The Airport Operators Association, which is behind the Hands Off Our Holidays, Mr Taxman! campaign, fears the added charges will eventually mean British families will not be able to afford to go abroad for their holidays.

They seem to have rather missed the point. Air Passenger Duty is just a tax, designed to raise revenue for the Government.

But the new “EU tax” (as they describe it), the Emissions Trading Scheme, is not primarily designed to raise revenue. It is explicitly designed to cut carbon emissions, and the revenue is a by-product. Adding flights to the scheme is specifically designed to make it harder for people to fly.

This is an example of where all that theoretical stuff about “green taxes” and “carbon emissions reductions” starts to affect real people in real ways.

The blunt truth is: adding flights to the Emissions Trading Scheme is specifically aimed at reducing the number of flights people take. Putting it another way, the new EU tax is specifically intended to stop people flying abroad. If it does not achieve that, it will have been a failure. What’s more, the “price of carbon” will go on going up until the number of flights does come down. The scheme is designed to do that. That’s what it does.

Now of course if you believe all the man-made global warming stuff, you might think that cutting people’s foreign holidays was worth it, to cut emissions. But too often the greens have pretended that cutting emissions is pain-free, that somehow “big business” or “the government” or somebody else will cut emissions and we can all blithely sail into a low carbon economy, without our living standards being affected.

Here, then, is an example of the truth behind all that spin. Cutting emissions means cutting our living standards. Cutting emissions means fewer foreign flights, fewer holidays, less car use, colder houses, less production of consumer goods and generally lower living standards.

That in itself does not mean the greens are wrong to campaign for emissions cuts. But they should do so honestly, and admit the real cost of their policies to ordinary people.

If you’re a green fanatic, holidays in the Costa Del Sol are a threat to the world and should be stopped.

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Wind or Gas? Does DECC Even Know the Difference?

Chris Huhne, environment spokesman of the Libe...
Image via Wikipedia

Chris Huhne – A Bad Case of Wind

The new head of the CBI has warned that the British government’s “green” policies are driving businesses abroad.

Recently, Tata Steel cut 1,500 jobs in the UK, saying that

EU Carbon legislation threatens to impose huge additional costs on the steel industry.

And a new book has been published by the thinktank Civitas called The Green Mirage, that estimates the consumer subsidy (i.e. extra added onto our fuel bills) for renewable energy will total £100 billion by 2030.

Here’s what the Department for Energy and Climate Change had to say:

The Government’s energy policies are focused on keeping lights on in the cheapest, cleanest way, making sure that consumers get the best deal in both the short and long term.

If we don’t shake free of our addiction to fossil fuels, if we have to rely on evermore expensive imports and leave ourselves at the mercy of international oil and gas prices, the impact on bills will be worse, the future for our energy security far bleaker.

You see, we need to make people pay more for their energy to avoid relying on “expensive imports”. And we need to avoid being “at the mercy of international oil and gas prices”, by putting ourselves at the mercy of the wind-speed instead. But hey, they can use the new “smart meters” to cut people off when the wind stops, after all.

I am not completely sure what he meant by the bit about “oil and gas prices”, actually. Oil is not generally used to generate electricity, so the oil price is pretty much irrelevant to electricity bills. Perhaps he was thinking of snake oil.

Britain has a looming energy gap, which will hit us within the next decade. Because DECC have been so keen to go for wind power, they have effectively done nothing to close that gap. Eventually the power cuts will begin, and DECC will come up with an emergency plan to produce more power – claiming, of course, that it is part of their long term strategy to ensure energy security and climate change targets.

The quickest option is gas-fired power stations, which are easy and cheap to build. Expect, therefore, an emergency programme to build gas-fired stations by the next government. They will probably blame it on the short-sightedness of David Cameron, or possibly even claim they are doing it to stay “green” (by replacing coal with gas).

The only issue will be that the output of British gas fields in the North Sea is falling. So we had better keep on good terms with Mr Medvedev and Mr Putin, because we’re going to need their help rather soon with some big imports of gas.

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BBC Undermines Its Own Credibility by Failing to Ask Awkward Questions

Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the U.S. and China...
Image via Wikipedia

The Climate Change Lobby Want to Reallocate China’s CO2 Emissions to the West

“Researchers” want us to include “embedded” carbon emissions in the figures for the UK’s production of CO2. (“Embedded” CO2 emissions are the ones that were produced when imported goods were manufactured. For example, if we import a toy from China, the Chinese emitted CO2 in producing that toy.)

The BBC comments that

26% of global emissions come from producing goods for trade

which is of course just another way of saying that many manufactured goods are internationally traded.

Glen Peters of research group Cicero, lead authors of the PNAS report, told BBC News: “There is a degree of delusion about emissions cuts in developed nations. They are not really cuts at all if countries are simply buying in products they used to manufacture.

We really need all countries to be developing and publishing the full extent of their emissions, whether they are produced domestically or outsourced through traded goods.”

(PNAS is the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”. “Cicero” is the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo and is “primarily a research institute and carries out projects funded by, for example, the Research Council of Norway and the EU Framework Programs”.)

Sounds like great double counting to me. If we need to add the “embedded” CO2 emissions from imported goods, then we also need to subtract the embedded CO2 emissions in exported goods from the UK total. I haven’t noticed those “researchers” claiming that the CO2 emissions produced in manufacturing a car that is exported from the UK to China, should be allocated to China.

But of course the aim here is not to get at true figures for anything. The aim is yet again to attack the developed economies of the West. China has been pretty reluctant to embrace emissions targets of its own, so the climate change scam has mostly impacted Western countries. Now they want to add to that by actually making developed countries themselves responsible for Chinese emissions!

As usual, the BBC is pushing that as hard as it can. As usual, it is lapping up with wide-eyed innocence the supposedly scientific statements of people who are clearly not impartial.

It is time the BBC actually started seriously questioning these researchers who are really campaigners. Otherwise the credibility of the BBC itself is undermined.

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