Thursday, January 30, 2014

Roger Harrabin Is An Irrelevant Old Hag

In discussing January's record wet weather in the UK on the BBC, so-called 'Environment Analyst' Roger Harrabin actually says this:

But consider this: we have drained bogs which used to catch rain; allowed soil to run off fields and clog rivers; built homes on our flood plains and supermarkets in our countryside; we've almost certainly heated the climate and swelled the sea level.
I kid you not. It's beyond satire. All he needed to add was that we've angered the sky gods. Is there even a coherent thought in all of that? It's just a long list of sins we humans have inflicted on Gaia and now she's pissed on a raining on us (especially on Somerset, what have you lot been doing in the West Country?)... Oh, of course, what you've been doing in the West Country is allowing the Environment Agency to get away with not draining your rivers. How come that's not on Harrabin's list of sins?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

If You Want To Reduce Poverty Cut Taxes

Allister Heath, one of the few mainstream journalists worth reading, has this to say in the Telegraph today:

Voters would be shocked if they realised how much tax is levied on their labour, including on relatively low salaries, and just how complex the system has become once income tax and both kinds of National Insurance are accounted for.

Earnings above £7,717 are briefly taxed at a rate of 12.1pc; above £7,769 this jumps to 22.7pc; then the combined tax rate shoots up to 40.2pc from £9,440, briefly reaching 57.8pc above £41,450; it then falls back to 49pc from £41,558; rockets to a bonkers 66.6pc from £100,000; falls back again 49pc from £118,880 and then settles at 53.4pc from £150,000. Labour’s 5p hike would push the combined tax rate above £150,000 to 57.8pc.

Not only is this system crazy, benefiting tax lawyers and government bureaucrats primarily, it also means that people on low incomes - the ones we want to have the most benefit from their salaries - are being scalped. Forget the 'living wage' the simple solution to making poor people richer is to stop them being taxed completely. Let them keep everything they earn. And of course if you cut taxes across the board it pumps more money into the economy, with positive outcomes for all of us.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fracking - The Next Step In The UK

Tucked away on the BBC News site is a little piece of local news that is sure to have national ramifications later. The story is about the proposal from Sinn Fein that there be a referendum in the county of Fermanagh on fracking. On the face of it this should be a good thing - for those of us of a libertarian bent local referenda are a good thing to have. The problem is of course that where the opponents of fracking are well-organised, have access to the media and can call on support from a wide range of green and leftist groups. They also have the advantage that they do not have to stick to the evidence, all they have to do is sow the usual greenist fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Who'll counter the welter of lies from the anti-fracking lobby? A few national politicians, none of whom sound like they mean it or know what they're talking about. Representatives from the smaller energy companies? They'll be accused of bias and confused with the big energy companies scalping the public. Sceptic bloggers and a few columnists like Booker and Delingpole.

It will not be a fair fight. Which is why I suspect that the greens are going to latch on to this pronto...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cameron, Fracking and Climate Change

There are some who will rejoice in David Cameron's recent pronouncements on the joy of fracks. For those of us jealously looking at what has happened in the US, fracking has seemed like an absolute gift and have been desperately hoping that we in the UK would take advantage of shale gas and oil in the same way. For a long time we've watched the liberal establishment, including large chunks of the government, spreading lies and disinformation or else pandering to the green lobby. We've watched the manoeuvring in the EU as moves have been made to block the advance to market of shale gas. And, let's be honest, we're still a way off commercial exploitation of shale. But, that said, the fact remains that the recent announcement of additional incentives to local authorities to allow exploratory drilling is step in the right direction. The question is, however, is it the right thing to do? And, further, does this mean that David Cameron is no longer a green true-believer?

The reason for doubting the wisdom of the new incentives - allowing local authorities to keep 100% of business rates collected from shale gas schemes - is that it plays into the hands of those who portray fracking as dangerous, unhealthy, polluting, toxic and so on. If, as those of us who support fracking contend, it is safe, non-toxic and non-polluting, then why allow the extra incentives? If it's so positive, why the bribes? This is exactly what opponents will say and are saying. People will be told that they are being bribed, that they are selling out to the energy industry, that their acquiescence is being bought cheaply. Furthermore, opponents will claim that this is a subsidy and that it is yet another example of the fossil fuel industry being heavily subsidised. Yes, it's nonsense, but opponents of fossil fuels play fast and loose with things like definitions of subsidies. So, to those people and the green propagandists in the BBC and mainstream media, giving local authorities more revenues is a subsidy, but the feed-in tariffs and the panoply of schemes that hand over our money to wind and solar farms are not subsidies.

The bottom-line is that the incentives may actually back-fire in that they fuel suspicion and play into existing green narratives that seems all forms of fossil fuels - including the lower CO2 emitting shale gas - as inherently evil and to be attacked and stopped at all costs.

Now, to the question as to whether this change of heart on fracking signals that David Cameron is no longer a true believer. There are those on the left who have always assumed that Dave is really a cynical opportunist who has played the green card for political reasons alone. But the evidence doesn't stand much scrutiny. Dave may not have many principles, but he subscribes pretty much to the liberal line on most issues and particularly when it comes to environmentalism. Which is why he continues to make alarmist comments about climate change and will continue to do so no matter what the scientific evidence shows. He can justify his support for fracking because it reduces carbon emissions compared to burning coal, and because the US has shown that it can reduce overall emissions while delivering reliable power. In other words, for a pragmatic green politician fracking makes a lot of sense, and it's only the out and out fanatic like Caroline Lucas of the Green Party who cannot see that fracking makes sense even within the logic of anthropogenic global warming.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

David Cameron - Prime Minister and Climatologist Speaks

Experts tell me that the recent weather we are having is completely consistent with climate change. Now I'm not a scientist, but people who know these things, the experts if you like, they tell me that weather is not climate. We all know this to be true, they're spelt differently for a start. But that technicality aside, we do know that our carbon emissions are causing warming somewhere in the world. That warming's probably jolly nice, but it's causing cold and wet elsewhere. You don't have to know anything about science to know that's true, and as someone who knows nothing about science, I can tell you from experience that it's true.

Let me elaborate a bit on this fact, because so many so-called climate change sceptics do not know this. The climate system is a bit like the economy. If I get richer, you must get poorer. If I get hotter, you must get colder. Which is why it's important that we continue to take your money in taxes and give it to people like me, who have the land to build wind and solar farms. So, please remember that if you're shivering and can't afford to have the heating on, it's because we've taken the money from you to sort out the problems your carbon emissions have caused somewhere else in the world, where's it's probably jolly hot and sticky.