SIR, - As if the theft of our money by hucksters in the laughingly called ‘financial services industry’ and by the Bank of England printers were not enough, we are now being compelled to pay tithes to the new Faith that portrays itself as the champion of future generations, while lining the pockets of yet another breed of snake oil salesmen; this time brandishing green credentials.
You report the dire straits in which the Scottish Borders Council (that is all of us in the region) finds itself not only because of the ‘bearing down’ (a wonderful phrase) on public expenditure but now because of the Carbon Tax.
Let us be clear, this is a ‘tithe’ paid to support a cult which has systematically spread fear and dread of conventional and nuclear power generation and has promised salvation, not for anyone here today, but for coming generations, through massive subscriptions, here and now, to support the Faith.
This Faith sprang, like all good superstitions, from a miraculous healing. This was of the hole in the ozone layer in the Antarctic in the 1980s. The magic was wrought by the banning of halogen-based propellants in hair sprays and the like. But, despite this draconian measure, the hole returned to become the largest ever recorded just a couple of years ago. The ozone depletionists are still around, but their movement was swamped by the much easier to apprehend global warmers who laid their curse on ‘carbon’, the stuff we breathe out.
Like CFCs, this is an evil and dreaded ‘greenhouse gas’, that, according to those to whom The Truth has been revealed by the holiest of icons, the great computer models, will destroy the sunscreen of the upper atmosphere, cause the world to warm up, melt the ice caps and glaciers and create untold suffering and havoc to life as we know it – sooner or later, here or there. To avoid being discredited if the predicted hotting up does not come about, the Faith is being renamed ‘Climate Change’. Based on even stronger evidence than that supporting global warming, this makes a prophecy that will certainly be fulfilled, that the climate will change in the future as it always has done in the past but how, where or what will change is still quite uncertain. Much more research money is needed. This oracle, like its classical predecessor, is very greedy.
The priesthood of the Faith comprises ‘scientists’ but maybe not in the tradition of Newton and Bacon who simply reported their observations. The new ‘science’ of climatology is more about model building than observation and it is so arcane that although all its adherents claim to have fitted their models to the historical data, the assumptions on which their models are based differ widely in many significant ways! That seems to matter not at all, for this is post-modern science!
Climatology is not to be confused with the uncertainties of meteorology or any other science. It produces ‘settled scientific opinion’, a contradiction in terms if ever there was one, and it claims that putting money into the pockets of its acolytes now will save the planet for our successors at least from drowning, if not from starvation, meteors, overpopulation or invasion by other little green men.
Scotland has bravely led the way for the rest of the world to follow and occupied the high moral ground by abjuring nuclear power, which it pioneered so successfully. But, of course, when the wind drops, nuclear-generated electricity will have to be imported from England or France to fill the energy gap. The ethics of this posture deserve the attention of The Moral Maze.
Contrary to the conventional view, man’s original sin was the discovery of fire, for lighting, cooking and heating and the pursuit of happiness. Now sheep’s clothing has been replaced by central heating and public buildings are floodlit to proclaim their self-importance. Truly mankind is doomed unless we, in the Borders, pay homage to the new Faith with hard-earned cash. But there are many other ways to worship this new idol, all of them defiant of common sense and all involving sacrifice as befits all serious superstitious beliefs. The most obvious is the tax we all pay on reliable, proven and economically efficient electricity, gas and nuclear power production systems. This money is used to pay landowners and speculators for uneconomic, unreliable windmills that depend on the very same systems as backup when the wind fails to oblige.
Other sacrifices which we can bring to the altar of this idol include the ritual destruction of thousands of central heating boilers in good working order which have been awarded the Black Spot for extinction and the joyful smashing of millions of light bulbs that have many years useful life left in them. To placate the wrath of the believers, we should invest in domestic windmills and solar panels that claim to save as much energy as was expended in making them in the twenty-five years of their expected life. These should be prominently displayed to proclaim our belief in the one true faith. Doubters may wonder at the logic of all this, but who are they but economists and accountants informed, not so much about carbon footprints and climate futurology, as about that old-fashioned thing, already falling fast in value – money.
The only light in the tunnel is the oncoming disaster, not from the climate but from the carelessness, negligence, ignorance and technical illiteracy of our leaders at all levels who succumbed to the superstitious fashions of the day and landed us all in the proverbial up to our uxters. They have wasted our gas and oil and prevented the replacement of generating plant that really is reaching the end of its life. They have wasted research resources on very long term projects, from nuclear fusion and carbon capture to nodding ducks and tidal barrages, to solve the immediate problem of the impending energy gap.
Of course we should all save energy if it saves us money, but it is folly, in hard times such as these, to prioritise subscriptions to projects of such dubious economic value. Worse still is to submit our minds to be controlled by any priesthood that makes such demands on us at times of hardship. People are already hurting today; they are threatened with dramatic rises in energy prices and even more demands are being made on them in the name of global warming.
Of course the climate is changing, maybe some tiny proportion of the change comes from human activity, but there is no evidence at all that human activity could even slow down, let alone reverse, changes in such a massive system as the world’s climate. It is chronicled that King Canute the Great having failed to halt the rising tide from wetting his feet proclaimed ”Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings...” but still no one is listening.
FENTON F. ROBB (Prof.),