In his Conservative Party conference speech on 8th October 2020, Boris Johnson took unerring aim at the UK’s future prosperity by targeting the very lifeblood of an industrial nation. He seriously suggested making our energy supplies expensive, unreliable and rationed, following Germany down the renewables plughole. The well-insulated middle classes around London applauded, but those who will suffer most, the old, the poor and the sick, are ignored. Johnson’s Green Industrial Revolution will literally kill some of the most vulnerable in our society.
However, he has a chance to correct matters. The 2021 26th UN Climate Change Conference will be held in Glasgow this November. Here is what he should tell the world leaders, parasites and hangers-on who will infest that boondoggle in his keynote address.
<shambles to the podium with his hair carefully mussed, bumbles a bit with his papers and looks engagingly around>
“Madame Chair, I am, like all of us here, a citizen of the world. But I am also the Prime Minister of the UK. While I have a duty to all peoplekind, my primary duty is to our own folk. Fortunately, I can improve the lot of the former and the latter at the same time.
The forecasts of climate science are no more accurate than our recent efforts on Covid – I’m shocked to find that only one of the climate models matches real-world data, the one that predicts only half the warming we’re panicking about. So we have decades to make the world economy more resilient. My country will demonstrate how this can be done, and we will lead the whole world into a brighter future.
Renewable energy is not the answer. By making fossil-fuel and nuclear power stations provide expensive backup for cloudy and windless days, it forces up all energy prices and overcharges those who use most energy, the old, the poor and the sick,. No new renewable schemes will be approved by my administration unless the operators guarantee delivery 24/7/365 at a reasonable price. We will right the wrongs of past agreements by imposing a windfall tax on wind and solar schemes which exactly matches their subsidies.
But what can give us the energy we need, the energy to power our factories, warm our homes, grow our food, while still being cautious about the demon carbon – if, that is, it turns out to be a demon? It must be nuclear. However, I have cancelled all work on European Pressurised Water Reactors in the United Kingdom – EPRs were designed by EU committees so they are well nigh unbuildable — but our greatest British engineering company, Rolls Royce, is developing Small Modular Reactors. These will be factory-built, then assembled on already earmarked sites. Once the design is optimised we will order SMRs in batches of four, with half of them exported as aid to nations that are energy poor.
I am continually lobbied by the fusion engineers to go for broke on their unproven and futuristic technology. They assure me it will be a reality sometime in the next twenty or thirty years, as they have been assuring previous Prime Ministers back to Anthony Eden. I am also told by various green organisations that we are near the climate tipping point and must do something now. If the climate panic is right we don’t have time to wait for fusion, and if they’re wrong we don’t need to worry if we wait for it to become a viable technology.
A responsible administration like mine must be prepared for all contingencies. While no-one sane would trust the pseudo-scientific crystal balls which have so panicked the world (and climate science is, Madame Chair, if you will excuse the expression, a load of crystal balls) we must proceed with caution. New technology needs time to settle down, and even though the SMR concept is not entirely new — our nuclear-powered submarines have operated for decades with no problems — we must allow for delays in adapting the designs. Besides, we need reliable, cheap energy now, not in ten years time. Fortunately, the answer lies beneath our feet – there are trillions of cubic metres of natural gas in the Scottish Midland shale, trillions more in the Bowland Shale in Lancashire, trillions more in the rest of the UK.
There has been opposition to fracking for gas, some from locals but mainly from ideological crusties – you remember crusties, those hairy chaps and chapesses who squat around the edges of our civilisation in a bid to take us back to the stone age — who wish to keep us in fuel poverty. I cannot address the concerns of the crusties, any more than I can persuade them to have a bath, but for the former I have today mandated compensation. Any damage caused by fracking earth tremors – we do not expect any but we wish to reassure worried residents – will be compensated at three times the cost of repair. Furthermore, all houses within five miles of a fracking site will receive ten years’ supply of gas for space heating, cooking etc or an equivalent cash payment. Those who put up with the minor inconveniences of living near a fracking site for the good of their country must benefit financially.
Let us move on to a real climate concern: air pollution. A rolling programme to convert heavy goods vehicles and buses, diesel trains etc to compressed natural gas fuel will begin on the 1st of January next year. This will cut CO2 emissions from those sources by half, while reducing NOX and particulate air pollution almost to zero. From 2025 all-new diesel vehicles in the UK will use the low-NOX Adblue system. And while on the subject of cars, we will, within a year, ban the use of food-derived alcohol in petrol and diesel. Burning food is immoral.
As a bridge fuel, gas is a natural. It is clean, halves our CO2 emissions and will be good for our balance of payments as we build up the SMR fleet.
Finally, we will address the failures of climate “science”. I have established a think tank of climate sceptics, people with different ideas about why the world is warming. For too long fanatics, ideologues and teenage doom goblins have acted as climate gatekeepers. Not on my watch. Time for the science to be properly debated in public, time to stop the hysteria, time for real science to speak out. Until dubious climate science can produce predictions that match real-world data I refuse to take it seriously.
There is our roadmap to the future. The UK will travel that road alone if necessary, but we will welcome companions who understand that reliable, low-cost energy is vital if we are to preserve our way of life as we move carefully to a low carbon future. There are countries who have representatives in this room whose emissions dwarf the UK’s measly one percent, countries whose increases per year wipe out any savings we make. So be it. But with these measures, we will show the safe and cautious route ahead. Let them stop preaching and follow our lead.
Madame Chair, you will excuse me if I stop there and if I decline to attend the rest of this talking shop. Like all its predecessors it will fail to come to any useful conclusion, and some of us have a country to run.” <leers at the camera and walks off accompanied by a stunning brunette we have not seen before.>
Will Prime Minister Boris do it? It’s very doubtful. A UK powered by cheap, clean energy, there’s the dream he should be selling, but he’s too committed to solar (solar at 52 deg North!) and wind to back down now, and anyway his latest squeeze, with her degree in the history of theatre, would never permit it. Our real future is power rationing, excuses and blackouts. Never mind you oldies, sickies and deplorables. Hypothermia is a merciful way to go.