Recent positions taken by Jacob Reece-Mogg include ‘Squeezing “every last cubic inch of gas”‘ from the north sea, restarting fracking, rejecting windfarms (and instead preferring fossil fuels) has all been pushed forwards of his position. He has a history of accusing people of climate alarmism. Two other mps refused the role of the climate change minister (though eventually Graham Stuart agreed to take it on).
Conservative members who are concerned about climate change (so called Green Tories – my argument would be, that if any Tory is not concerned about climate change and global warming, should not be considered for a role in the cabinet. We cannot continue to tolerate climate change denialism in the UK government).
Jacob Reece-Mogg has claimed that “climate alarmism” is responsible for high energy prices (it isn’t, obviously, the current spike is largely due to the Ukraine conflict). He has also claimed that, as scientists are not capable of accurately predicting the weather more than a few days out, how can they possibly predict that average temperatures are going to increase.
Given the simplicity of the science, it is alarming to be part of a country which has appointed such an irrational person to a post – someone who ignores all the experts and raises up anyone willing to spout something that goes against the current prevailing scientific understanding of global warming. Conservative mps were concerned but hoped that Jacob would stick to the net zero target set for 2050. There is further concern that Liz Truss will play down tackling the climate crisis, because her new chief economics advisor Matthew Sinclair has a history of arguing against taxation to pay for environmental policies.
In the past, Sinclair has argued fighting against climate change and instead working on mitigation and adaption. Quite what his view would be, if the world takes his advice and sea levels rise tens of meters – would he argue for the uk building a huge wall around the UK, to keep out the sea?
What are the most troubling comments that have been made?
2013 he claimed that the effects of carbon emissions on the climate ‘remain much debated’. While it is true that denialists like himself have kept the debate alive, there are no respected scientists arguing that carbon emissions are not causing climate change. Ironically, the article he made this claim in stated “climate change alarmism caused our high energy prices”.
He backed the extraction of 40 million tonnes of coal saying, we are going to need to have fossil fuels for the interim period and we are going to need coal for things like heritage railways and so on.
“We need to extract every last cubic inch of gas from the North sea”. He further argued “we are not going for net zero tomorrow, 2050 is a long way off”.
“Cheap energy is more important that windmills” is a quote of his from 2014. Just to be clear, both solar and wind power are now cheaper than any fossil fuel sources of power – so actually we can have both cheap energy and windmills. Further more, by next year, it is predicted that offshore wind power will be cheaper than gas powered power station.
He has a vested interest in the oil and gas industry, having founded a firm with investments in them. He failed to mention this when he took part in a debate in the house of commons on this matter.
So what is Liz Truss view? I hasten to add, this is an insane thing to have to ask, it is like asking what someone’s view is of gravity, it does not matter what you think of gravity you will still stay on the ground. This year, we have experienced UK hottest day on record, 1/3 of Pakistan was submerged by floods, and IPCC climate experts have issued a “final warning for humanity”.
Liz Truss announcements include a whole load of legislation that will indo what few natural protections we have in the UK, and are likely to increase global heating. These include, new oil and gas exploration and threatening the UK national parks. So, Fracking is back, Investment zones are coming (where usual planning rules wont apply, allowing bulldozing of any opposition), getting rid of important environmental legislation (in particular 570 laws that we put into British law during Brexit which relate to environmental protection), Oil and gas Licensing (argument being, we arent ready to abandon gas yet, so lets extract it here- despite any fossil fuel extraction lasting many decades), scrapping farming schemes which encourage farmers to maintain wildlife that lives on their land. The PM has also argued that 58%of farming land must be blocked from having solar panels (firstly, this goes against the rights of farmers, as well as blocking novel new farming methods that do both) a greater absurdity, is that if all buildings in the UK was covered in solar panels the level of farm use required would be very small.
This current government has little mandate for any of these changes of direction, having made the decision on the basis of Conservative membership – about 1 in 1000 of the country.