How rich it is for privileged green politicos like Selwyn Gummer to make the poor pay for their eco-zealotry-Stephen Glover

By Paul Homewood

Stephen Glover hots the nail on the head!

How easy it is for high-minded rich people to lay down the law for poorer folk. They often haven’t the faintest idea of the effect of their expensive recommendations on ordinary lives.

The most recent example comes from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), a quango which advises the Government on measures to tackle climate change. Yesterday it called for oil-fired boilers to be phased out by 2028, and gas boilers by 2033.

If you factor in insulation, which the CCC also champions, the cost of installing heat pumps as alternatives to boilers could work out at a minimum of £8,000 per household. That is several times the price of a boiler.

Chris Stark, chief executive of the committee, whose handsome annual remuneration is £205,000, says that ‘a large proportion’ of the expense ‘should be met by households’, though he holds out the hope that the Treasury might help poorer people.

Mr Stark recently asserted that the costs of reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050 — the Government’s existing target, based on the CCC’s advice — will be much less than previously thought.

Not, it seems, when it comes to splashing out on new heat pumps. But I suppose that if you are scraping by on £205,000 a year, an outlay of £8,000 must seem a pretty derisory figure.

Another person who won’t be fretting about the cost of installing a heat pump is the CCC’s chairman, Lord Deben. Readers may remember him as John Selwyn Gummer, who as Minister of Agriculture during the BSE crisis in 1990 made his four-year-old daughter eat a beef burger in front of the media.

Lord Deben is not short of a bob or two. Last year it was revealed that he and his family own Sancroft International, a sustainability consultancy which has received more than £600,000 from ‘green’ businesses. Perhaps surprisingly, the House of Lords Commissioner for Standards exonerated him of any conflict of interest.

His lordship is fortunate to own a sprawling country house in Suffolk, with a garden that was landscaped for free in the early 1990s, partly at the expense of taxpayers, and partly as a gift from a food company.

Selwyn Gummer (as he still was) justified this unusual arrangement on the basis that his garden was visited by EU farm ministers.

Though his sizeable mansion may well require a constellation of heat pumps to power it, and double-glazing on an industrial scale to retain heat, I think we can safely say that Lord Deben will be able to meet the costs without too much difficulty.

But will millions of others? And how will they feel about wealthy climate change zealots (there are others besides Lord Deben and Mr Stark on the CCC who aptly fit that description) loading substantial extra costs on them?

How, indeed, would these hard-pressed people feel if they knew that the climate change committee cheerfully despatches staff on taxpayer-funded flights rather than choosing greener alternatives?

A freedom of information request last year uncovered almost £10,000 worth of flights including a first-class return trip to Beijing costing £5,081. That particular jaunt produced an estimated carbon footprint of 9.2 tons of CO2 — some 6.1 tons more than the equivalent journey in economy.

Most people, I believe, are prepared to take climate change seriously, though they need to be reminded that the UK accounts for less than one per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and that this country’s painful sacrifices won’t make much impact globally.

What they do not appreciate is being instructed to spend large sums in an uncertain cause by rich people working for a shadowy and unaccountable quango which is guilty of rank hypocrisy.

Oh — I nearly forgot. Another impertinent demand by the CCC is that we should cut our consumption of meat by 20 per cent over the next nine years to help reduce emissions from cows and sheep. Lord Deben, having virtually shoved a burger down his daughter’s throat, will be telling his grandchildren to lay off beef.

It actually seems to be Chris Stark who wields the real power these days. It was him who was largely responsible for writing the Climate Assembly Report last month.

Yet he has little experience of the real world, having worked in various civil service roles since 2002.

It is quite astonishing that a nonentity like Stark has been given so much power to determine the course of people’s lives.


December 19, 2020 at 04:18AM