While the Labour faithful are anticipating today’s keynote speech by Mil The Younger, Young Dave has piled off to New York, where he is to address a United Nations (UN) summit on tackling global warming. This phenomenon is agreed by the vast majority of climate scientists to be a direct result of increased carbon emissions, which in turn follow from the burning of fossil fuels.
So what will Cameron be telling the long-suffering Ban Ki-moon and his fellow delegates? Perversely, and most likely with a straight face, Dave will be jolly well telling all these foreign chappies that we in the UK will be tackling global warming by, er, creating a shed load more of it. You read that right: as the Tory Party’s house journal, the Maily Telegraph has told, he wants to exploit shale gas reserves.
He’s even brought along his latest bullshit soundbite, as the Tel tells: “Shale gas can be part of the solution to tackling climate change and must not be restricted by ‘green tape’”. Yes, we must save the planet by disturbing its surface and then burning the end product. This is so Orwellian, it could have come straight out of the Ministry of Truth in 1984. The Tel, it goes without saying, is all in favour.
What the paper also fails to question is that Cameron is lumping together fracking for shale gas with nuclear power, asserting that countries “should also be free to pursue technologies such as shale gas, which is extracted by fracking, and nuclear power without restriction”, which is plain daft. Whatever the longer-term problems with decommissioning, nuclear emits zero carbon during generation.
And the scheme for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset has now received the seal of approval from the European Commission – the level of perceived subsidy had been a source of concern because of EU state aid rules – so new nuclear capacity will go ahead regardless of what happens with shale gas. The connection of the two by Cameron is disingenuous.
Meanwhile, 10 Downing Street is maintaining the Orwell-speak: “We’ve got further to go in terms of explaining how tackling climate change isn’t simply a green policy, it’s a growth policy. If you’re going to get the world’s biggest economies to stick to the 2C target, you’ve got to be serious about cutting green tape and creating green jobs”. This is also, by definition, doublespeak.
“Green tape” was preventing exploitation of shale gas, which is definitely not green. But it was now getting in the way of creating green jobs, which means the Government is facing both ways. And the fig-leaf being deployed to justify fracking is that shale gas will reduce the use of coal, not that Dave is about to give us anything like an assurance on that. The whole thing makes zero sense.
Still, it’s only meant to get Dave through another seven months. Mustn’t grumble.