The seismic shift in UK politics that started with the Uxbridge byelection continues apace. It’s the dawning realization that anyone who tries to gift wrap Climate Pain at the election is a sitting duck if their opponents only oppose it. As fast as Rishi Sunak backtracks on Green sacred promises, the Labor Party is working out that their green flank is exposed to election winning missives.
Writers in both The Telegraph and The Financial Times in the UK are suggesting it’s “the end” — the political collapse of the open support for a reckless race to NetZero from both sides of politics. CNN reports that Rishi Sunak is “stoking a culture war on Green policies”. Hallalujuh. Since Uxbridge, “leading Conservatives have gleefully picked up the anti-green baton.” They’re taking a “populist approach to the climate”. Glory be! How dare they, in a democracy, do something that’s popular?
Thanks to NetZeroWatch
SHERELLE JACOBS, The Telegraph
Tories aren’t just playing politics. The geopolitical ground is shifting beneath the eco fanatics’ feet
This could be the beginning of the end of net zero. Eight years ago, it burst into our lives, a rapturous crusade of ambitious legislation, geopolitical grandstanding and share-boosting green PR. Today, what so many have exalted as an era of rapid, momentous change looks set to go down as the biggest damp squib in Western history.
Even Tony Blair is telling the new Labor leader to back off and be sensible
His mentor, Tony Blair, has already turned up the pressure. In an interview last week, the former PM started to lay the groundwork for a net-zero row-back on the centre-Left, warning that the public should not be asked to do a “huge amount” on climate change when China is emitting so much. The intervention is unlikely to have gone down well in the Starmer camp. The current Labour leader seems to want to go down in history as the politician who delivered Britain to the net-zero promised land. He has long fancied himself as Britain’s answer to Franklin Roosevelt, delivering a shot in the arm to a zombie economy with a green jobs bonanza.
Jacobs argues that the War, the pandemic and the security threat from China have triggered the awakening:
But the real killer blow to net zero is the new Cold War with China. When Obama pushed for the Paris Agreement in 2015, the West still imagined that it could treat China as a diplomatic partner, balancing icy exchanges over trade with smiling solidarity on climate change. Today, though, Western elites are finally accepting that Beijing is a strategic enemy – and that the West would be taking an intolerable risk if it were to blindly plough ahead with net zero as China carries on with its pursuit of relentless growth. And from Washington to Westminster, it is at last dawning on politicians that Beijing has seized on net zero to gain a foothold in energy infrastructure, dominating the manufacture of everything from wind turbines to EV battery software.
But really, the anti-carbon delusion laid the foundations for its own demise. It’s too stupidly expensive to survive in the real world.
Janan Ganesh, The Financial Times
Let us dispose of the idea that net zero is popular…. Last month, a YouGov poll found that around 70 per cent of adults support net zero. If this entailed “some additional costs for ordinary people”, however, that share falls to just over a quarter. The wonder isn’t the political faltering of net zero. The wonder is that it took until Uxbridge.
Janan Ganesh dares to imagine a Tory leader pointing out the banal truth that the UK makes only 1% of global emissions, and will spend billions to achieve nothing.
And what will that cost achieve? Not a material dent in the climate problem, but the setting of a moral example, as though India and China set their watches by us. Liberals forever accuse us on the right of overrating Britain’s sway in the world. Well, look who is grandstanding now.”
Faced with this message, what does Labour do? Allow itself to contest election after election as the expensive but righteous party? It is beyond imagining. And so the net zero consensus will break down from both sides. …
It’s hard to believe, after skeptics have said this for years, that this would finally trip up the Labor Party — perhaps the difference is that — apart from Trump — few major political leaders in the West have dared to challenge the dogma and keep hammering until they score a win.
The Climate Wars are not ending yet though. If the open battle ends, as long as believers believe, the science is corrupted, and the Big Bankers meet for Skiing Trips in Davos, the climate battles will just go underground, or morph into a slightly different version of Grifter-Gravy. It has to be cut down at the source. End the UN. Break up the EU. Mock the WEF.
Picture of Rishi Sunak by Lauren Hurley / No 10 Downing Street