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Monday 28 November 2011

Booker Caught Out Again

To show that no one part of the Fourth Estate has a monopoly on climate change misrepresentation, the Telegraph has, as is usual of a Sunday, wheeled out Christopher Booker, the one who thinks white asbestos is harmless, passive smoking equally so, and has been shown not to know winter from summer, to spout his customary mix of hyperbole and dishonesty.

Booker’s evidence for his rhetorical question “Is the global warming scare the biggest delusion in history?” reaches the heights of lauding Prince Philip for saying something that Booker finds agreeable and UBS for concluding something similar, quoting “a front page story in another newspaper” [there’s Littlejohn for you] and misrepresenting opinion from the House of Lords.

The conclusions in the House of Lords report can be read in the press release HERE. They are not surprising: no new nuclear stations have been opened since Sizewell B in 1994, and that was a one-off, intended to be the first of several Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) stations, with the project stymied by the sell-off of the electricity industry, and not remotely connected to current energy policy.

As the “newest” of the rest of the UK’s nuclear power stations dates from the late 1980s, it should be no surprise that expertise has dwindled, especially in R&D. But Booker does not rest here, moving on to “a Government policy which ... will inflate the cost of a new home in Britain by as much as 66 per cent”. And he refers to a specific document as evidence.

This is the Code For Sustainable Homes, which you can read HERE ([.pdf]). Booker asserts that “According to official estimates in [the Code], this will increase the cost of building a house by up to £37,793”. So not only a figure in Pounds Sterling, but a very specific one. And, as the Code is available on-line, we can check it for the figures that Booker cites.

But there is a problem with the Code: at no point in its 29 pages (including covers) does it even mention anything with a price tag on it. No currency symbols are present. Nor is there anything to stand up Booker’s assertion that “by 2016, all new homes must be ‘zero carbon’ in terms of energy-use and emissions”. And the document is hardly a new find.

That is because it has been around for five years.

Christopher Booker has once again been caught out sounding grand, and pretending to have done his homework, only for a little searching to reveal that much of his copy is made up, and most of the rest is recycled bluster. One more for the bin.

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