Who’s paying the real costs of “climate change”?, asks Backbencher Friday page editor, Michael St George
For a start, let’s be clear: when I say “climate change” here, I most definitely don’t mean real climate change – the complex and chaotic geo-physical, atmospheric, solar, and paleo-climatological processes that have been the determinants of changes in the Earth’s climate throughout the 4½ billion years of its existence, and still are, utterly dwarfing in scale and significance any human input.
What I mean by “climate change” here is the set of assumptions, attitudes and policies, originating primarily in Green ideology, which have been adopted by a goodly part of the politico-media-academe establishment elites, and by three of the UK’s four main political parties, irrespective of their positions on the political spectrum. The assumptions, attitudes and policies that implement the misguided belief that marginally reducing the UK’s mere 1.6% contribution, to the mere 3% that is anthropogenically-produced, of a plant-life-essential trace gas that comprises a mere 0.04% of the Earth’s atmosphere, can somehow save humanity from impending catastrophe.
So who’s paying the real costs of these? Well, for the people who’ve had their homes and businesses flooded over this winter, the answer is pretty clear. It’s them: they’re the ones paying. And, to make it worse, they’re paying three times over.
First, they’re paying in taxes that have been, and are being, squandered. Their taxes should have been used to fund the construction of adequate defences and protection against entirely forseeable increased flood risk, resulting both from our habit of disproportionately building new housing on flat flood plains, and from predictable, and predicted, non-anthropogenic changes in the UK’s climate.
Instead, the unelected, unaccountable Environment Agency has been splurging taxpayers’ money on ideological, but ineffective, Greenery. In Somerset, it stopped, from 1996 onwards, dredging the rivers that carry run-off on the Somerset Levels away to the sea, quoting as the reason the cost of £4.5 million – although it managed to find £31 million to spend creating a wetland wildlife habitat. In the Thames Valley, there’s been no dredging for nigh on 20 years.
In its place, there’s been a deliberate, but covert, policy of actually encouraging flooding, driven largely by enthusiastic implementation on the part of the bio-diversity obsessed Environment Agency, of EU Directives. The full horror story has been expertly chronicled by Dr Richard North here and by Christopher Booker here, but the plan accompanying the final policy document illustrates the scale of the concealed pro-flooding policy more graphically than any number of words, especially Policy 6 for Area 8.
Finally, in the wake of the full extent of this debacle being revealed, dredging is about to resume. But how many homes, livestock, and businesses have been ruined while their taxes were diverted from flood defence to a policy openly admitted by the former Head of the Environment Agency as “Instant Wildlife – Just Add Water!”?
Next, the flooded are paying via Green taxes and levies superimposed on to their energy bills, once again added by politicians, all in the name of a futile attempt to “combat climate change” – try “combatting” tomorrow morning’s sunrise. By the time they’ve paid a plethora of 6 or 7 differing eco-tariffs, renewables obligations, carbon floor price adjustment (actually for carbon dioxide, an odourless, colourless, invisible trace gas, but hey, “carbon”, although wrong, sounds so much blacker and, well, dirtier, doesn’t it?) and an EU emissions trading levy, the total effect is to add about 9% to an average energy bill.
We can then add to that, of course, a further 5% VAT, applied on the Green taxes and levies as well as on the basic energy product, naturally, (a tax on a tax – what’s not to like about that if you’re a State bureaucrat?), meaning that energy and “climate change” policies add about 14% to an average energy bill. On a £1,188 pa bill, that means £184 is taken up in Green levies and taxes.
And finally, the flooded are paying through their insurance costs. It’s been reported in the past week that people in the Lake District who suffered flooding a few years ago are having great difficulty in getting their property insurance either renewed at a cost they can afford, or even renewed at all. Elsewhere, and as looks certain to be the case in Somerset, on the Thames, and on the Severn, that other insurance providers are either declining cover proposals, or imposing excesses and exclusions which almost, in effect, don’t add up to insurance cover at all.
From the insurers’ business point of view, sadly, that’s quite understandable. They see a government that’s (1) abandoned constructing robust, or even any, flood defences in favour of chasing after some unattainable Green eco-chimera of “stopping climate change”, but one that’s also (2) still continued to sanction house-building on high flood risk flood-plains. That’s a bad risk in any language, and they’re either declining to saddle their shareholders and other policy-holders with it, or charging very much higher premiums that reflect the full extent of that risk.
So yet again, it’s the flooded who are paying the cost of “climate change”. As they already have in taxes, and in hiked-up energy bills. What a absolute travesty of justice it is, though, that the cost of “climate change” doesn’t seem to have included costing the Environment Agency Head, incompetent and complacent Labour metro-stooge Chris Smith, his well-remunerated job. Because it bloody well ought to.
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