OK, yes, there are plenty who insist that we don’t need a climate change plan at all as there’s nothing either we should, or we could, do about climate change. But step inside this constriction for a moment and just take the welter of claptrap seriously for a moment. OK, so climate change is happening, we’re doing it and something must be done. We’re specifying that as our starting point here.
OK, so, what should be done. Or, given that there really are people talking about ecological Leninism out there, as if war communism worked, what is to be done?
Probably not this list from The Guardian:
A nine-point plan for the UK to achieve net zero carbon emissions
Is such as massive expansion actually possible? I have calculated that the UK would achieve this target by devoting about 5% of its maritime zone to offshore wind, 2% of the land area to solar panels and about 12% to onshore wind.
If we were to suggest doubling the amount of land given over to housing – you know, to solve that problem of insufficient housing and that we do actually build being the smallest new stuff in Europe – the screams from The G would be deafening. But only some 2 to 3% of the UK’s land area is housing. Yet here they’re entirely happy to have 2% covered in solar panels.
Today, hydrogen is created from fossil fuels but it can be easily made from water using electrolysis. The gas can be stored to make electricity on the rare occasions when the available renewable power is insufficient. Hydrogen is hugely versatile; it can also be deployed to power vehicles, to provide the energy for steel-making and other industrial processes, and to act as the critical raw material for the chemicals industry.
Well, yes, hydrogen might well be useful. The most useful part being as the feedstock to make artificial hydrocarbons with so that we can continue to power cars and airplanes without having to use batteries. Yet later we get told:
The obvious other target is car use. Many European cities have pedestrianised large areas of their centres, introduced better cycling provision and improved public transport.
Quite why we’ve got to do this if we’re already going to solve the CO2 problem with hydrogen isn’t obvious.
As a supplement to decarbonising the UK’s energy supply, we also need to wrest back control of the energy networks from their current owners, often non-UK businesses owned by private equity funds. Many other countries, such as the US, have publicly controlled energy companies that can act to meet local needs and minimise the cost of gas and electricity.
The utilities are the expensive part of the American system. The cheap part is the natural gas supplied by fracking. You know, that thing no environmentalist will allow to happen in the UK?
We need to complement the decarbonisation of energy supply with measures to improve energy efficiency. In the UK the crucial target is the poor insulation standards of almost all our housing. Policy has been lamentably weak in this area over the last decades.
Actually, no, most to much of the UK housing stick is now insulated to the level that it can be without complete rebuilds. Further:
We now require programmes of deep refurbishment, working street-by-street across the country. This may seem expensive and difficult but could provide a much-needed boost to jobs and incomes in deprived areas.
Jobs are a cost of a plan, not a benefit. That claim that lots of jobs will be created is a claim of how expensive it all will be.
Meat production dominates farming around the world and reducing animal numbers will give us space to introduce properly climate-friendly agriculture. That means farming that is less intensive and less dependent on herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers. It will also employ more people.
Laddie really is ignorant, isn’t he? If we don’t use chemical fertilisers then we’ve got to use animal manure. Which we can’t if none of us is eating meat. You can’t have vegetarian and also organic farming at the same time.
And this is where we know that he’s an idiot:
9. Carbon tax
Lastly, we should try to bring the reluctant oil and gas industries onside by instituting a tax on the production of anything that results in carbon emissions.
Because of course the carbon tax is the first thing to be done. Why? Because it’s the incentive to do all the lovely things above as well as the 98,000 other things that suitably incentivised market participants will dream up and Guardian columnists never will. Which is, of course, why every economist has been shouting that if we’ve climate change, if we need to do something about it, then the answer is the carbon tax.