Green energy policies are costing us the future

George Harrison

Topics Science & Tech

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When it comes to energy prices, UK homeowners are being seriously ripped off. But it’s not the much demonised energy providers who are to blame. The real culprit, according to a report from think-tank Policy Exchange, is the spiralling cost of green subsidies, which has led to a £60 increase for the average energy bill over the past five years. The report suggests that energy suppliers are only responsible for approximately 19 per cent of the total cost of household energy; meanwhile, the government has direct control over more than a third of your energy bill, meaning that the cost of the UK’s drive towards renewables is footed by energy customers.

This green revolution – demanded by the quinoa-munching class and paid for by everyone else – has cost the UK more than enough already, with far too little to show for it. People are quick to forget that coal – much maligned by green-energy fanatics – was the fuel on which modern Britain was built. As the fossil fuels burned, families were lifted out of poverty, and life expectancy rose. Now, as developing nations emulate us, burning their own abundant fuel reserves in the process, the developed West has the nerve to condemn them for it.

In doing this, we are cruelly pulling up the drawbridge to cheap industrialisation, from the warmth and comfort of our own developed countries. Are we so blinded by green politics that we ignore how much we owe to our own, environmentally unfriendly, Industrial Revolution? The millions of people in China lifted out of poverty over the past decade were helped on their way by vast quantities of coal. When have wind turbines or solar panels ever lifted anyone out of poverty? As the global energy mix is forced towards a greater reliance on renewables, the opportunities for development in the poorest parts of the world are stifled.

In Britain, it’s time to rethink our own energy mix, follow America’s lead and turn to shale gas for our energy needs. Fracking would increase our available supply substantially, and bolster our energy security with it. Nuclear power presents another opportunity. Uranium is as clean as it is plentiful, and is a tried-and-tested winner in the countries that have embraced it. If we don’t abandon unreliable wind and expensive solar, we’ll end up paying even more for our energy – with a smaller output to show for it. Britain’s misguided and expensive green adventure has served only to run up an enormous subsidy bill. As the taxpayer forks out, UK politicians pat themselves on the back for their efforts in mitigating the supposed threat of global warming, when, in reality, politicians’ impact on global emissions is negligible.

It’s time we put the wellbeing of fellow humans before green dogma. If more lives can be improved by burning fossil fuels, fracking or pursuing nuclear power, then surely it’s time to tear down the turbines and fire up the power plants.

George Harrison is a student at the London School of Economics.

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Topics Science & Tech


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