“Politics Is Now The Battleground For Climate Change” – Watts Up With That?

“Politics Is Now The Battleground For Climate Change” – Watts Up With That?


Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t James Delingpole; David King, former long term UK government science advisor, is heading a new climate advisory body. But his track record of recommendations includes some worrying missteps.

Politics Is Now The Battleground For Climate Change Says Leading U.K. Scientist

Felicia Jackson
Contributor
Sustainability

The dangers of climate change are well established but action has been mired in economic and political arguments but, given its effects are diverse and global, there is no longer time to wait for action. Sir David King, the former U.K. chief scientific adviser, and current leader of Independent Sage, has launched an international advisory group of leading climate experts with a program to mitigate the consequences of climate change through emissions reduction, greenhouse gas removal, and climate repair.

The Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) seeks to provide independent expert advice and guidance to global leaders as they seek further commitments and actions to combat the climate crisis. Open to politicians, advisors and most importantly the public, the Group wants to change the way we look at the climate crisis.

Speaking before the official launch on 23rd June King said, “We’re looking at a  series of disastrous events over the next few decades. Our objective is to get emissions down to close to zero as soon as possible, preferably by 2035-2040, and to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere at scale to bring the atmosphere down to 350ppm CO2e. We will also need and to repair those parts of the climate system that are passing their tipping points to buy time while emissions reduction and removal produce the level of 350ppm.” 

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/feliciajackson/2021/06/24/politics-is-now-the-battleground-for-climate-change/

James Delingpole’s response is well worth reading, with references to “Satan’s Arse Cheeks” and other hilariously brilliant Dellingpolesque verbal flourishes.

One of the biggest criticisms of King, which Delingpole hilights, is David King’s role in the diesel automobile disaster.

In the early 2000s, David King convinced the Blair government to encourage a mass switch to diesel automobiles, including for use in Britain’s high density traffic congested cities, because diesel engines are more fuel efficient. The downside King overlooked is diesel engines emit more pollution than gasoline vehicles. The result of the additional pollution created by a mass switch to diesel was a catastrophic rise in premature deaths.

Here, history has another lesson for us which seems to have gone unmentioned in the various soft-soaping interviews Sir David has enjoyed. Namely, his involvement in perhaps one of the most egregious public health calamity of modern times – the decision by Tony Blair’s government to dramatically cut fuel duty for diesel cars. 

The appallingly misguided policy was implemented at Sir David’s behest in the early 2000s as part of the effort to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions. Obsessed by climate change, Sir David hit on the idea of encouraging motorists to drive diesel cars because they produced roughly 15 per cent less carbon than petrol ones. 

As the government slashed fuel duty and other taxes for diesel drivers, millions dutifully bought the vehicles. At which point, it became apparent the nitrous oxide and other pollutants they belched out were causing severe and often fatal respiratory problems to members of the public. 

Sir David ought to have been well aware of this, since the European Respiratory Journal had in 2001 published a review linking diesel cars to lung problems, and showing that they produced 100 times as many particulates as their petrol counterparts. 

However, he appears to have been persuaded of the case for diesel by car manufacturers who, as we now know, were cheating on their emissions tests. As a result of this widespread adoption of the filthy fuel, tens of thousands of Britons have lost their lives. 

By 2017, nitrous oxide was contributing to the premature deaths of 12,000 people a year in the UK. At which point Sir David gave an interview admitting: ‘It turns out we were wrong.’ 

Read more: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8286797/GUY-ADAMS-Ex-science-tsar-Sir-David-King-told-switch-diesel.html

Now David King is seeking to once again influence policy in Britain.

Adoption of renewables to date has been an unmitigated disaster. As Greentech media explains, it is the unreliability of renewables which does the damage. Hedging against the uncertainty of renewables drives up prices. Businesses are forced to buy expensive financial instruments, usually issued by dispatchable energy providers or merchant banks, which function as a form of insurance against the possibility energy prices will spike when renewables fail to deliver. If they choose not to buy the “insurance”, they pay the full price when energy prices spike to thousands of dollars per kilowatt hour. Either way they pay.

The cost of that “insurance”, or the cost of servicing wild price spikes, is passed on to consumers.

This increased cost in turn must be contributing to Britain’s soaring energy poverty rates, and is likely contributing to Britain’s soaring excess winter death toll.

The fact David King wants to once again get involved in climate and energy policy should ring alarm bells, given that by his own admission he is associated with in my opinion poorly considered policy initiatives which likely led the premature deaths of thousands of people from diesel pollution.

Update (EW): David King claimed he was misled by the auto industry about diesel vehicle nitrous oxide emissions.

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