Remember that the World Bank recognizes personal mobility as the defining characteristic of the Middle Class. Also recall that as Aristotle stated, the Middle Class is the social buffer against tryanny by the elite and slavery of the poor.
Finally, be informed that C40 is a global network of mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis. It was founded in 2005 as C20, and has since expanded to its current network of 96 cities, including London. More at Daily Sceptic The Green Globalists Behind Ulez – and What They Have Planned Next (Of course our virtue signalling Montreal Mayor Plante is all in on imposing ULEZ here.)
The group intent on disrupting London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s green vehicle tax has received some political support despite its criminal activity.
Hundreds of Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) cameras have been vandalized by a vigilante group that opposes the controversial scheme, which extended across wider London this week and charges road users for traveling in non-compliant vehicles.
The scheme is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s green agenda to enhance the air quality across the U.K. capital; however, many critics of its extension into London’s suburbs consider it to be a regressive tax and cash grab that will hit working families the hardest.
A vigilante group known as the Blade Runners has been targeting newly installed cameras across the capital in a bid to disrupt the implementation of ULEZ as much as possible, and hundreds of cameras have already been hit.
Prior to the roll-out, which came into force on Tuesday, around 500 cameras had been marked as out of action or damaged, according to a map the vigilante group promoted. Many of the cameras targeted were located in London’s southeast with 156 of the 185 cameras around the districts of Sydenham and Sidcup being hit, as well as 18 of the 22 cameras installed in Bromley.
The camera map, published on a popular anti-ULEZ Facebook page, allows users to update it when a camera has been rendered out of action. The black pins represent cameras that are now missing or damaged.
In the southeast town of Orpington, just two of the new number plate recognition cameras were in working order on the day of the ULEZ expansion after vigilantes smashed, spray-painted, or cut the wires of 14 cameras on a single road.
Video footage and photographs of disruptors vandalizing the cameras have been published on social media, much to the delight of those critical of the scheme.
One camera was even installed just meters from a crematorium in order to pick up funeral-goers, a camera that was swiftly taken care of by locals.
Despite their criminal activity, the vigilantes have received political support, including from a former Conservative Party leader and cabinet minister, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who insisted he was “happy” for Londoners to fight back because “they are facing an imposition that no one wants and they have been lied to about it.”
“A lot of people in my constituency have been cementing up the cameras or putting plastic bags over them,” he said. “The actions you are seeing show how angry people are at what is being imposed on them. Sadiq Khan has gerrymandered all the information – people have had enough.”
It is the latest in a continuous assault by Khan on motorists, following the installation of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), extensive road-narrowing, and the excessive expansion of 20-mph zones.
When he was heckled at a public event back in March over the ULEZ roll-out, Khan suggested that those who opposed the plans were “far-right,” a remark that was met by derision and booing from the Question Time audience.
‘Cheap’ lithium batteries and DIY amateurs prove to be a risky pairing, as more people try to keep their travel costs down by any available means. Unsupervised charging not advisable. – – – A sharp increase in e-bike and e-scooter fires has raised significant safety concerns in London, as firefighters grapple with more incidents in 2023 than during the entirety of the previous year, says Energy Live News.
As of the end of August, the London Fire Brigade reported battling 104 e-bike fires and 19 e-scooter fires, surpassing the 116 total incidents recorded in 2022.
Three individuals have lost their lives this year in fires believed to be caused by lithium battery failures, with an additional 51 people suffering injuries.
Fire investigators have scrutinised the 73 e-bike fires reported in the first half of 2023, revealing that approximately 40% involved converted e-bikes.
Moreover, at least 77% of these incidents were linked to battery failures, often associated with cheaper batteries from online sources that may not adhere to UK safety regulations.
The alarming trend has prompted a coroner to write to the Office for Product Standards and Safety, calling for enhanced safety standards following a fatal e-bike fire in March.
E-bikes and e-scooters can ignite rapidly if their lithium batteries sustain damage or malfunction.
While privately owned e-scooters remain illegal on public roads and spaces in London, they can be legally purchased, raising concerns about their safety and usage.
There’s a quite a lot of heat and noise being generated at the moment about London Mayor Khan’s expanded Ulez (Ultra-Low Emission Zone) which is supposed to start at the beginning of this week. But what few seem to have noticed is that Khan’s Ulez is just a very small part of a much larger programme to control how our rulers believe we should live our lives.
Khan’s Ulez is part of the C40 programme:
C40 is a global network of mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis. It was founded in 2005 as C20, and has since expanded to its current network of 96 cities, including London.
Many people have been wondering why Mayor Khan is implementing the Ulez expansion when not only Londoners but also several Labour politicians (including Starmer) seem to be against it, blaming it for Labour’s failure to win the Uxbridge by-election.
Well, hopefully you are now aware that the expanded Ulez is just a tiny part of a much larger globalist agenda which looks suspiciously like a form of climate-catastrophist lockdown for us ‘useless eaters’. So, it should be clear why Mayor Khan is driving this through in spite of the howls of opposition and in spite of the doubts of his own Labour Party.
There’s a lot more I could write about the C40 Cities assault on our lifestyles. But you can go to the C40 website if you’d like more information. However, there’s just one thing I should add – I found it interesting to look at who is actually funding this horror story. Here’s a link to the funders page.
Major funders include eco-organisations such as the Climateworks Foundation, Global Environmental Facility, the Climate Change Collaboration and the European Climate Foundation; Governments such as the U.K. Government, the German Government and the Danish Government and foundations set up by billionaires such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, IKEA, the Hewlett Foundation, Fondation L’Oréal, Google and Novo Nordisk.
Moreover, there is one more major funder which surely deserves a special mention – the Open Society Foundations. The Open Society Foundations website explains “George Soros is the founder of the Open Society Foundations. He has given away more than $32 billion of his personal fortune to fund the Open Society Foundations’ work around the world.”
So who is Mayor Khan really working for when he implements his expanded Ulez as part of his C40 agenda? Londoners? The Labour party? Or the eco-fanatics and the multi-billionaire Davos globalists? I’ll leave you to decide.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ulez punch-down on cars and vans owned by the less affluent is just one example of the attacks planned against town dwellers living in modern industrial societies. Khan is the current chairman of C40, a global network of city mayors backed by numerous hard-Left billionaire foundations. Removing cars from cities is just one of its aims. In a Headline Reportpublished by the group in 2019 and re-emphasised earlier this year, a “progressive” target for 2030 was set of a daily per person allowance of 44g of meat (enough for two small meatballs), a daily limit of 2,500 calories, (less than the ration in the Second World War), one short haul flight every three years, eight new clothing items a year and private cars available for only one in five people. This “pioneering piece of thought leadership” was said to seek a “radical, and rapid, shift in consumption patterns”.
When the report about future urban consumption was first published in 2019, it received little publicity in the media. Some of its proposals looked a bit cranky even for mainstream publications. For instance, under an “ambitious” 2030 target, the mayors looked to ban meat and private vehicles altogether. But groundwork was clearly being laid. Mark Watts, executive director of C40, observed that average consumption-based emissions in the wealthier C40 cities must fall by “two thirds or more” by 2030. It was said that reducing vehicle ownership would lead to significant reclamation of roads and 25,000 kms of cycle lanes. This plan is now well advance since the Covid lockdowns provided cover for mass street closures. Recent years have also seen large increases in cycle lanes, and of course the Ulez war on those driving older vehicles, not necessarily by choice.
Signatory cities are committed to “high impact accelerators”, which include creating low or zero emissions zones along with “implanting vehicle restrictions or financial incentives/disincentives such as road use or parking charges”. An early sighting here, perhaps of Khan’s suspected wish to implement road pricing after his Ulez infrastructure is in place.
There is also an early sighting of unsourced statistics with a claim that eating less meat and more vegetables and fruit could prevent 160,000 annual deaths associated with diseases such as heart attacks, diabetes and strokes in C40 cities. It is not immediately clear if these deaths actually occur in such precise numbers, or whether they are a Ulez-style ‘statistical construct‘.
Over 100 cities around the world are part of the C40 network and they are required to sign up to “performance-based requirements” based on a number of leadership standards. One of these standards specifies that they must innovate and start taking inclusive and resilient action, “to address emissions beyond the direct control of city government, such as associated with goods and services consumed in their city”. The largely unpublicised C40 operation is backed by finance and support from many well-known green foundations including Climate Works, Hewlett, IKEA, Oak, FR and Clinton. Three “strategic funders” are identified including Christopher Hohn’s Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, a major financial contributor to Extinction Rebellion. Another strategic funder is Bloomberg Philanthropies, whose controller Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, is president of the C40 board.
Of course interest is now growing in what all these people have been smoking over the last few years, as the Con/Lab green blob (different countries, different mainstream political combinations) organise to de-industrialise and cut human progress in the name of tackling a supposed ‘climate crisis’. The C40 Headline Report gives clear guidance of the scale of economic and societal change required under a collectivist Net Zero agenda. U.K. Fires is an academic project funded by the British Government, and it also gives a brutal assessment of life under what it terms absolute net zero carbon dioxide emissions. Again it is not discussed much in the public prints, but the Daily Sceptic has reported on its findings. These include no flying and shipping by 2050, drastic cuts in home heating, bans on beef and lamb consumption and a ruthless purge of traditional building materials such as bricks, glass, steel and cement. Such is the admirable honesty on display in their reports that they note these building materials can be replaced with “rammed earth” – mud huts for the lower classes in other words.
Sadiq Khan has been badly shaken by a popular uprising against his hated Ulez scheme. Backing in his own Labour party is wearing thin, not because most senior members are particularly anti-Ulez, but because after the Uxbridge by-election they can see a little more clearly that attacking the cars of the poor is a slam-dunk vote loser. For his part, Khan seems to have become more hysterical attacking those who oppose Ulez as conspiracy theorists. Earlier this year, reports the Daily Mail, Khan said that some of those who opposed the scheme’s growth across all London boroughs were “anti-vaxxers, Covid deniers, conspiracy theorists and Nazis”.
The evidence provide by Khan’s own C40 Headline Report, along with the work of U.K. Fires, shows clearly the actual agenda that is now being ruthlessly deployed. The only conspiracy rabbithole in sight would appear to be that occupied by a freaked Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Chris Morrison isthe Daily Sceptic’sEnvironment Editor.
That’s quite a title isn’t it? Nine words only, but he’s managed to jam in ‘dramatic’, ‘action’, ‘crazy’ and ‘extreme’. Perhaps he used to be on a sports newsdesk, the crucible of journalistic cliché-packed writing. But that’s nowhere near as impressive as the 15 uses of the word ‘said’, each time following an individual scientist or ‘scientists’.
‘Scientists have said.’ What sort of science is ‘scientists have said’? Lots of things have been said in human history and most of them arrant nonsense. Here’s one of the examples: “The ‘crazy’ extreme weather rampaging around the globe in 2023 will become the norm within a decade without dramatic climate action, the world’s leading climate scientists have said.”
What does that mean? Adjust the word order and it reads “leading scientists have said the ‘crazy’ extreme weather will become the norm within a decade”. In other words, these geniuses know the future, a preposterous conceit they share with untold numbers of soothsayers, religious fanatics, demagogues, and lunatics, and how to change it. All you have to come out with is ‘scientists have said’ and suddenly the piece is imbued with pseudo-credibility.
Read on and of course the only possible route to evading Armageddon is zero consumption of fossil fuels. Not one piece of evidence is cited in the whole article, as usual. Of course, the proponents will evade being proved wrong or right since even if we did stop using fossil fuels overnight we’ll have to wait 200-300 years before we’ll know; and even then cause and effect will be impossible to prove.
Let’s go back a few years to when there were ever so slightly fewer fossil fuels being used. John Evelyn (1620-1706) was a founding member of the Royal Society. He wrote a diary, little known today but filled with gems, such as these (I’ve modernised the spelling):
February 5th 1652: It continued so ill weather as no vessels put to sea.
June 25th 1652: There fell this 25th day (after a drought of near four months) so violent a tempest of hail, rain, wind, thunder and lightning, as no man alive had seen the like in this age: the hail being in some places four and five inches about, broke all the glass about Lond: especially at Deptford, and more at Greenwich, where Sir Thomas Stafford, Vice-Chamberlain to the Queen, affirmed some had the shape of crowns: others the Order of the Garter about them; but these were fancies: it was certainly a very prodigious Storme: …
At least Evelyn knew the shapes of the hailstones were just imaginary, but he was equally confident about who was to blame as we shall see.
March 7th 1658: This had been the severest winter, that man alive had known in England. The crows’ feet were frozen to their prey: islands of ice enclosed both fish and fowl frozen, and some persons in their boats.
June 2nd: An extraordinary storm of hail and rain, cold season as winter, wind northerly near six months.
Horror of horrors, the winter of 1661-2 was exceptionally warm! Obviously global warming started before any of us realised. Luckily, the Charles II’s Government had a knee-jerk magic response up its sleeve:
January 15th 1662: Was indicted a general fast through the whole nation, and now celebrated at London to avert God’s heavy judgement on this land, there having fallen so great rain without any frost or seasonable cold: and not only in England, but in Sweden and the most northern parts, it being here near as warm as at midsummer some years. The wind also against our fleet which lay at great expenses, for a gale to carry it to Portugal for the new Queen [Catherine of Braganza]; and also to land the garrison we were sending with the Earl of Peterborough at Tangier, now to be put into our hands, as part of the Queen’s portion [her dowry]. This solemn fast was held for the House of Commons, at St Margaret’s: … The effect of this fast appeared, in an immediate change of wind, and season: so as our fleet set sail this very afternoon, having lain wind-bound a month.
Sounds familiar? All they had to do was go without food for a bit and bingo! Problems over. This self-denial brought a divine reward in God alleviating the vile and unseasonably warm weather. Sadly, the effects were short-lived. Evelyn was a very religious man. He knew where to point the finger. He thought Charles II’s Restoration Court, which came into being in 1660, was the epicentre of decadence:
February 17th 1662: this night, and the next day fell such a storm of hail, thunder and lightning, as never was seen the like in any man’s memory; especially the tempest of wind, being south-west, which subverted besides huge trees, many houses, innumerable chimneys, among other that of my parlour at Sayes Court [in Deptford], and made such havoc at land and sea, as several perished on both. Diverse lamentable fires were also kindled at this time: so exceedingly was God’s hand against this ungrateful, vicious nation, and court.
The point here of course is that any extreme weather, any perceived aberration from the norm, will do as evidence for the sins of man and which therefore requires self-flagellating, punitive, remedial action, together with the delusional belief that we have the power to change the climate through our actions. And it wasn’t only precarious winters:
June 12th 1681: my exceeding drowsiness hindered my attention, which I fear proceeded from eating too much, or the dryness of the season and heat, it still continuing so great a drought, as was never known in England, and was said to be universal.
June 19th: the dry weather had now withered everything, and threatened some universal dearth.
It didn’t get any better, even once Charles II was dead (he died in 1685):
July 11th 1689: about three in the afternoon, so great and unusual a storm of thunder, rain and wind suddenly fell, as had not been known in an age: many boats on the Thames were overwhelmed, and such was the impetuosity, as carried up in the waves in pillars and spouts, most dreadful to behold, rooting up trees, ruining some houses, and was indeed no other than a hurricane.
Things went from bad to worse:
January 11th 1690: There was this night, so extraordinary a storm of wind accompanied with snow and sharp weather, as had not been known the like, in almost the memory of any man living… What mischief it has done at sea, where many of our best ships are attending to convey the Queen of Spain, together with a thousand merchants laden for several ports abroad, I almost tremble to think of. This winter has been hitherto, extremely wet, warm and windy: such as went before the death of the usurper Cromwell, which was in a stormy day [September 3rd 1658]: the death of the Queen of Bohemia, and what this portends, time will discover. God Almighty avert the Judgements we deserve, if it be His blessed will.
Goodness me! Why it could be 2023, could it not. Despite there not being a diesel car in sight.
After another storm in November 1703, Evelyn, by then aged 83 could only ruminate in despair:
I am not able to describe, but submit to the Almighty pleasure of God, with acknowledgement of his justice for our national sins, and my own, who yet have not suffered as I deserved to: every moment, like Job’s messengers, brings the sad tidings of this universal judgement.
If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought he’d spent too much time on the BBC website.
There is no question that a couple of episodes like the ones Evelyn describes could be effortlessly transported to modern times for rags like the Guardian and its tireless environment hacks to pounce on. I could have supplied here dozens and dozens of other examples just from his writings alone.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am all for cheaper, more efficient, less polluting ways of improving the way we live. I’ve got solar panels and batteries for crying out loud (monthly direct debit for electricity now £15, thank you very much and installation costs all paid off). But a panic-stricken religious crusade will get us nowhere apart from making a small number of people an astronomical amount of money.
What amazes me most of all is the sheer lack of personal awareness exhibited by so many climate scientists about how they present their competitive apocalypticism.
On a more serious note, this is what they can do to people’s minds. This tragic story from four years ago is about how climate anxiety became the tag for some women with postnatal depression to tag their despair to. Here’s one of them:
“A doctor wouldn’t be able to control the companies responsible for 70% of the world’s carbon emissions or put a stop to recreational flights,” she says. “Only this morning, I was crying about it. It’s like a grief process.”
Having a child has exacerbated Heather’s fears for the future. She says she only realised the impact of climate change after Jack’s birth.
“It was terrifying – for days, I couldn’t sleep. My appetite went. I cried loads. I felt really, really anxious and upset. I remember being really frantic and asking my husband, ‘did you know about this?’ I felt so guilty about having had Jack.”
And I’m not being glib. For personal family reasons I know how devastating PND can be. These women, however, are only the tip of the psychological damage being wrought on people almost everywhere.
Lionel Shriver wrote a brilliant piece in the Sunday Times the other day called ‘Blaming Climate Change for everything is lazy‘. In it, and she’s not even arguing against the idea that we are causing climate change, she says, “We’re contriving hugely consequential policies in a state of hysteria… wrong answers at scale could bring on catastrophe of a different kind”. Indeed.
If we rush in, in a state of hysteria, the next thing we’ll discover is that our ‘solutions’ either don’t work at all or make an unstable ever-changing world worse. That’s unlike Charles II’s fast which would only have made everyone famished for a day or two.
And finally, John Evelyn was ahead of his time. In 1661 he produced a tract called Fumifugium, all about getting rid of London’s “presumptuous smoke” with his own version of a Ulez. His solution, just like London’s expanded Ulez, was to move the sources of pollution somewhere else, in Evelyn’s case by relocating London’s filthy industries five to six miles downriver, though no-one ever took any notice.
He had another idea too, which was to demolish “poor and nasty cottages near the City” for being an eyesore opposite the palace at Whitehall, and turn the sites into gardens to improve the atmosphere. As for those whose homes and livelihoods would be ruined, he didn’t give them a thought. But he could afford not to, as he wandered past the mulberry tree in his celebrated gardens at Sayes Court in Deptford.
Do you remember the movie Three Days of the Condor (1975)? This is from near the end:
Higgins (CIA deputy director, New York): It’s simple economics. Today it’s oil, right? In 10 or 15 years – food or plutonium. And maybe even sooner. And what do you think the people are going to want us to do then?
Condor (Robert Redford): Ask them?
Higgins: Not now, then. Ask them when they’re running out. Ask them when there’s no heat in their homes and they’re cold. Ask them when their engines stop. Ask them when people who’ve never known hunger start going hungry. You want to know something? They won’t want us to ask them. They’ll just want us to get it for them.
Guy de la Bédoyère is the editor of an edition of The Diary of John Evelyn (Boydell 1995), The Writings of John Evelyn (Boydell 1995), and The Correspondence of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn (Boydell 1997).
Listening to the discussion over Ulez expansion feels like an action replay of the way in which many were convinced to overreact to Covid, leading to policy responses which caused significantly more harm than good. The Ulez ‘discussion’ has all of the same elements, with modelled health benefits calculated by Imperial College and Mayor Khan’s justification that he is “saving lives”, implying that opponents are wannabe murderers. Of course, this time around, the public is thankfully much more sceptical.
In this short note, we wanted to set out how those ‘lives saved’ numbers are derived and to demonstrate that at best the numbers are seriously misrepresented and at worst completely wrong. In fact, applying the Government and Imperial’s own logic, there is a very strong case to say that the expansion of Ulez will, on balance, harm Londoner’s health when considering the downstream economic consequences of this policy.
The major flaw in Imperial’s model is the one-dimensional nature of its assumption that air pollution drives health and life expectancy. In the real world health is driven by a number of interacting factors with income being the primary driver. There are many assumptions one could dispute that (perhaps unsurprisingly) work towards inflating the claimed health benefits of reducing air pollution, but we focus only on the flaw of largely ignoring policy consequences.
The Imperial team presents several numbers, including: attributable deaths (3,600 to 4,100), improved life expectancy (five to six months) and life-years saved (6.1 million). We wanted to focus on the claimed benefits of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy in terms of life expectancy and life-years saved.
Before leaving attributable deaths, it is important to note that these are not in any sense deaths that can be avoided, nor are they deaths that are subject to reduction by the Transport Strategy. The figure appears to compare current death rates with death rates if all human emissions had been removed for all prior periods. It is a theoretical construct (similar to an unmitigated pandemic) and only a small fraction of this number would be theoretically impacted by road transport (around 15%). Only the going-forward numbers (life-years saved) relate to the Transport Strategy and there the benefits are relatively low at 0.4%. It is important to note that there has only ever been one death, of a young and chronically unwell girl ever recorded in England (56 million population) where the death certificate mentions air pollution. Tragic as this death clearly is, it again highlights the disconnect between the theoretical attribution number and actual deaths recorded; we suggest ignoring the attributable deaths figure.
Looking at the claimed benefits of implementing the Transport Strategy, it is possible for a layman to understand the main assumptions on which these health benefits are based. In summary, it is assumed that reducing 10 µg m-3 achieves roughly a 6% reduction in all cause mortality. Note however 10 µg m-3 is more than all anthropogenic PM 2.5 emissions as estimated for England as a whole, so any benefits are scaled down from 6%. So a 1 µg m-3 reduction generates roughly a 0.6% improvement in life expectancy (i.e., ten times less).
Looking at life-years saved and extended life expectancy, the key assumptions are poorly explained. For those in a hurry, the detail shows that all of the Transport Strategy initiatives to 2050 combined will deliver a projected 0.4% reduction in life-years lost to air pollution using projections to 2154. There is a claimed five to six month extension in life expectancy, so the life expectancy of a London male of around 80 years would be extended to around 80.4 years.
These gains are stated relative to a baseline and for some inexplicable reason the Imperial team has decided to use 2013 pollution levels to establish the baseline and in the process to ignore the available data for 2019. This serves to inflate the baseline.
The acid test is: are the results of modelling compatible with observed reality? And on that basis the Imperial Ulez modelling falls flat. The model covers the impact of the entire Transport Strategy to 2050 which covers many more steps than Ulez. The Imperial document is somewhat vague about what those steps are – they are cryptically referred to as 2025 LES, 2030 LES and 2050 LES. It is enough to note that the goal of Mayor Khan’s 2018 Transport Strategy is to “aim for 80% of all trips in London to be made on foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041”. So the first thing to clarify is that the claimed 6.1 million saving of life years relates to a significant number of measures, well beyond Ulez expansion. In effect these combined steps will largely eliminate private car traffic.
The chart below is constructed from the Imperial material and shows that PM 2.5 µg m-3 population weighted (PWAC) pollution falls over a number of steps and Ulez on a standalone basis has a near zero impact. Also, you can also see that a fair chunk of gains have already been banked between 2013 and 2019.
The failure of Ulez to achieve any meaningful reduction in pollution is very clearly shown in a separate document prepared by Jacobs which looks at the impacts of Ulez only. The table below shows the impact of Ulez expansion on PM 2.5 µg m-3 concentration, with an estimated improvement of less than 2%.
There is a slightly better outcome for NOx pollutants which are reduced by 5.4% across Greater London. This feeds in to the health impact assessment which unsurprisingly shows near zero benefit from Ulez for PM 2.5 reductions, for most health-related metrics.
Looking at life expectancy, the report does acknowledge that due to the large population (around 8.9 million) and the extraordinary long time period over which these benefits are expected to crystalise (up to 2154) then there are around 1.5 billion life-years involved (years × population). For any stated benefit to be meaningful, it needs to referenced to the base case value. The 6.1 million life-years saved is then within the context of a total of around 1.5 billion life-years; this saving is around 0.4%. Correspondingly, the impact on life expectancy from all of the pollution schemes (not just Ulez) adds up to around 22 to 27 weeks additional life expectancy. In the context of male life expectancy of 80 years (roughly) this would improve to 80.4 years as a consequence of 30 years’ worth of restrictive climate policies (ignoring any economic consequences).
The core flaw in the calculation is the one-dimensional thinking that underpins this (and all similar calculations) in that all reductions in PM 2.5 concentrations lead to a reduction in the mortality rate. This thinking ignores any link between people’s incomes and health outcomes, which is the primary driver of health. This is the same dishonest cop out that Professor Ferguson made in his infamous Covid paper. This facilitates a myopic focus on ‘safety’ and generates solutions that do far more harm than good.
In setting out the methodology that states that health outcomes will improve with a reduction in air pollution on a more or less linear basis, the Government’s own figures show that real world data prove that this assumption is not correct (or at least over-simplified). Its own data for the regions of the U.K. show that (if anything) this relationship is reversed.
Life expectancy in Scotland is much lower despite having far and away the lowest concentration of anthropogenic PM 2.5 pollutants. Many studies with and between countries show this clearly (e.g. life expectancies by national deprivation deciles, England: 2018 to 2020).
In order to get a handle on how much more significant factors other than PM 2.5 can be, we looked at a recent paper that considers the impact of changes in different factors on life expectancy across 29 European countries (the paper also looks at each factor in isolation using multivariate analysis). The chart below shows the life expectancy impact of a 1% change in the listed factors. There are of course some caveats, but you can immediately see that economic activity dominates the outcomes with a 13-month gain in life expectancy for a 1% gain in GDP versus say a 2.7 month gain for a 1% change in PM 10-2.5. Also note there is no statistically significant relationship between CO2 and life expectancy.
In another section of the same paper the author states: “France and Sweden, some of the countries closest to their potential LE (life expectancies), are also amongst those with the highest NOx level.” The real message, though, is that if you dent people’s income by narrowly pursuing PM 2.5 reduction, you will, on balance, shorten life expectancy and not increase it. The Jacobs’ report confirms that there will be multiple negative impacts on business and economic activity. We guess that on balance Ulez will lower life expectancy when factoring in the impacts on business and family incomes, as well as quality of life considerations.
In the post Covid world, we have understood that politicians of all stripes will shamelessly use emotional manipulation in order to get reasonable people to comply with their unreasonable edicts. That is why understanding how reliable, or otherwise, attributable deaths, life-years saved and life expectancy figures are is so important. You can almost guarantee that these estimates will be manipulated and potentially used to rationalise illogical and damaging policies.With opaque models it is relatively easy to produce results to order.
The political process assumes that the individuals involved are able to understand competing objectives and arrive at a sensible compromise. However, we saw in the case of Covid that many politicians have limited scientific understanding and will tend to pursue unachievable safety, at any cost.
The State seems to be redefining its role with a narrow group of ideologically-driven technocrats setting somewhat arbitrary targets. Achieving those targets requires wholesale changes to people’s lives. Very often economic, mental health and other impacts are barely considered and historically established constitutional boundaries between the State and the citizen are often ignored.
Various sops will no doubt be offered to voters, but is it important that readers realise that there is a direction of travel to these various steps. Finally, remember Albert Camus’s wise warning that, “The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.”
Tilak Doshi’s article “London’s Ulez Expansion: Motorists Of The World Unite!” is an eye-opening examination of the real-world impact of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion on ordinary motorists. Doshi carefully weaves in historical perspectives, current developments, and political implications to present a compelling argument for a more nuanced approach to environmental policy-making.
Doshi points out an intriguing historical parallel:
“The average speed of cars in London during a typical weekday averages 8 miles per hour in central London, 12 in inner London and 20 in outer London. According to AI ChatGPT, ‘based on historical accounts and estimations’, the speed of a Roman chariot was likely around 20 to 25 miles per hour on well-maintained roads in ancient Londinium.”
Doshi perceptively points out that there is a limit to the public’s tolerance for financial penalties for “long-term climate benefits.” He cites a shift in political sentiment, with politicians such as Michael Gove and Sir Iain Duncan Smith calling for a rethink on net zero regulations. As Doshi posits, these regulations are viewed by many as causing unnecessary hardship, particularly for ordinary citizens already grappling with a cost-of-living crisis.
Doshi pulls no punches, stating,
“It is no surprise that a news report published on Friday pointed to a sharp increase in vandalism on the 1,750 numberplate-reading cameras that Transport for London (TfL) is installing in preparation for the Ulez expansion due to be implemented in August.”
The narrative underlines the palpable frustration and resentment of those affected by the ULEZ expansion.
The ULEZ expansion is more than a local London issue. As Doshi aptly describes, it’s part of a global trend where
“the World Economic Forum’s ambitions for governments to reduce the number of automobiles in the world by 75% by 2050 to reduce carbon emissions from the transport sector.”
These ambitions, though noble, fail to take into account the impact on ordinary people, such as tradesmen, parents, and the elderly, who rely on their vehicles.
These ambitions, though noble, fail to take into account the impact on ordinary people, such as tradesmen, parents, and the elderly, who rely on their vehicles.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the mayor found that only 27% of the respondents were against the Ulez expansion as a means to “to tackle air pollution” while 51% were in favour. A competing poll, undertaken by the Tories, asked respondents whether they were for or against the expansion with the preface that it was undertaken for revenue raising purposes. This reversed the results, with 51% opposed to the expansion, and 34% supporting. Biased surveys are nothing new, and poll results depend on the framing of the question.
Also, the claims about improved air quality due to the ULEZ may not be as clear-cut as they seem. As Doshi mentions, studies have shown that the actual reduction in pollution might be far less than reported.
Finally, Doshi makes a compelling argument about the potential political implications of the ULEZ expansion and other similar policies. Across Europe, there’s a growing political opposition to what Doshi describes as “virtue-signalling green schemes.” London’s motorists, as per Doshi, may be leading the first real anti-green citizen’s revolt.
As Doshi ends his article with a rallying cry, “Will the motorists of London unite to make this happen?” I can’t help but echo his sentiments.
A motorcyclist in a hurry refused to be held up by Just Stop Oil’s rush-hour slow march in the capital by ploughing throw the protesters’ banner before tossing it on the ground as he rode away. The Mail has the story.
The shocking incident happened this morning in Camberwell, south London, as the group marked its 10th week of disruptive ‘slow march’ demonstrations.
The brazen rider was seen careering straight through two protesters holding up the JSO sign which he then gathers and disposes of.
Protesters looked visibly shaken following the incident, which is the latest example of frustrated members of the public taking matters into their own hands in the face of the disruption caused by the activists.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed enforcement actions had been taken after today’s slow march, which saw four groups march in different locations on the capital.
A spokesman said: “Officers issued a Section 12 condition to move out of the carriageway to Just Stop Oil protesters on Holloway Road, Islington, at 08.28.
“The road was cleared two minutes later, and traffic is now moving.”
The embarrassment comes following a difficult week for the group, who were slammed as “performative” by one of their original funders.
American entrepreneur Trevor Neilson co-founded the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), a group that bankrolled Extinction Rebellion and JSO.
Mr. Neilson has has since resigned his position and described their methods as “unproductive”.
The 50-year-old Californian businessman stepped down in 2021 but has since decided to speak out to criticise the groups’ protest tactics, which include ‘slow marches’ and blocking roads.
In London yet again the eco-pests have been out and about, making lives hell for ordinary people trying to go about their business. For most people one set of eco-protestors are just as much of a nuisance as any other, but for the record, this time it was Just Stop Oil who were at it. Once more they were standing on the highway, making it impossible for motorists to pass. The police turned up, but so far as can be seen, they did nothing.
That is, until a frustrated van driver, trying to get to work, snatched away their plastic oil-based banner and swore at them. The moment was caught on film here, and instantly two policemen descended on him and started remonstrating with him, physically (though admittedly in a gentle way) moving him away from the protestors. Seconds later a third policeman joined in. Meanwhile the traffic chaos continued and the protestors seemingly remained in situ with impunity.
It should be noted that section 137(1) of the Highways Act 1980 provides that “If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or a fine or both.” Of course, the potential loophole is the plea that the “climate crisis” provides the protestors with a lawful excuse.
One might have thought that in these cases the claim of the protestors would be a weak one, but seemingly not. In the case of DPP -v- Ziegler the Supreme Court carried out a comprehensive review of the relevant case law, including decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights, such as Primov -v- Russia, and concluded:
It is clear from those authorities that intentional action by protesters to disrupt by obstructing others enjoys the guarantees of articles 10 and 11, but both disruption and whether it is intentional are relevant factors in relation to an evaluation of proportionality. Accordingly, intentional action even with an effect that is more than de minimis does not automatically lead to the conclusion that any interference with the protesters’ articles 10 and 11 rights is proportionate. Rather, there must be an assessment of the facts in each individual case to determine whether the interference with article 10 or article 11 rights was “necessary in a democratic society”.
Kuznetzov -v- Russia was also cited with approval, including this paragraph:
Finally, as a general principle, the court reiterates that any demonstration in a public place inevitably causes a certain level of disruption to ordinary life, including disruption of traffic, and that it is important for the public authorities to show a certain degree of tolerance towards peaceful gatherings if the freedom of assembly guaranteed by article 11 of the Convention is not to be deprived of all substance.
Thus it can be seen that – probably contrary to the beliefs and wishes of many people – the law gives considerable latitude to the protestors, and consequently the police have to take that into account when dealing with them. Many people wonder why the police delay for rather a long time before taking action against protestors obstructing the highway. The simple answer is that the case law provides that the length of time the obstruction takes is a relevant factor in deciding whether or not it is lawful. Pity, then, the police, who have to strike a balance between allowing lawful protests (whatever those affected by the protests might think of them) and keeping the traffic flowing, while preventing the situation from potentially spinning out of control and turning violent. Having analysed the law on the subject, my sympathies are with both the police and ordinary citizens whose lives are being made hell by the eco-protestors. I have no sympathy with protestors who must know that their demands to “just stop oil” can’t be met within their required timescales, and who also show contempt both for the democratic process and for their fellow citizens.
Given the nature of recent events in London, it is therefore more than a little galling to read about what’s going on at the other end of the country – in Shetland, where the Viking Energy project is now causing chaos on the roads while the huge turbine parts are delivered. With police assistance, naturally. We learn from an article in the Shetland Times that “aggressive” police are scaring people while accompanying the Viking Energy convoys:
Police officers travelling with the convoys to the Viking windfarm site are scaring people by ordering them off the road aggressively, a meeting heard on Tuesday night.
Viking Community Liaison Group chairman Andrew Archer said he was “surprised” to hear from one person who asked if the police could be less aggressive when dealing with the public.
The person said they had been left so “gluffed” they almost had an accident.
Another person had actually had an accident, the person alleged, after being “frightened by the police escort”.
Mr Archer said he had spoken to a few people who felt similarly – and that the police were acting like “something out of The Sweeney“.
“They’re being quite aggressive in pushing people off the road,” he said.
Viking project manager Aaron Priest said it was not for them to tell the police how to do their job.
The length and breadth of the country, from London and the M25 in the south to Shetland in the north, it seems that “greens” will always take priority, whether in the form of eco-protestors or massive renewable energy companies. Apparently Joe Public should get used to the idea that the roads aren’t for the likes of him (or her). My only consolation is that the contempt of all those in authority and all those associated with the net zero project, for ordinary people, must lead to a backlash. Soon. Please.
Global warming, climate change, all these things are just a dream come true for politicians. I deal with evidence and not with frightening computer models because the seeker after truth does not put his faith in any consensus. The road to the truth is long and hard, but this is the road we must follow. People who describe the unprecedented comfort and ease of modern life as a climate disaster, in my opinion have no idea what a real problem is.