Leading article Australia

To Boris, from down under

29 February 2020

9:00 AM

29 February 2020

9:00 AM

Dear Boris,

How ironic that at the very moment you succeed in unshackling your great country from the tyranny and diktats of the European Union, you embark upon a grand project that risks re-enslaving the UK, this time submitting it to the equally intolerable and undemocratic bear-hug of the United Nations and the warlords of the climate industrial complex.

If freedom-loving Brits thought that Brexit meant an end to unfair regulations imposed from on high, they are going to be horrified when they fully appreciate just what sacrifices will be involved in order to meet your government’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050. Here in Oz, voters have repeatedly rejected plans for excessive climate regulations and green taxes.

It beggars belief that a supposedly pro-business, pro-capitalist, pro-individual Conservative government could embrace a net-zero emissions target that is specifically designed to hamper and reduce growth and productivity by imposing collectivist-style targets and regulations; and that the heirs of the industrial revolution that brought health, wealth and prosperity to the world now seek to unravel that great endeavour in the name of ‘progress’. It is beyond tragic that as you slash away the red tape of Brussels, you are already re-strangling yourselves in the green tape of Geneva and New York.

Your many fans here down under found it unsettling when your government inserted its ‘net-zero emissions by 2050’ pledge into Labour’s 2008 Climate Change Act, thereby enshrining it in law. That was insane enough, but at least it could be blamed on your predecessor, Theresa May, and a pathetic attempt to fabricate some kind of ‘woke’ legacy in the dying days of her woeful prime ministership. Aussie conservatives  presumed that someone like you, a fan of Donald Trump’s (and a former Speccie editor), would have had the good sense to undo that piece of madness the moment you had a working majority. No such luck.In fact it gets worse. As David van Gend details in this week’s Aussie Speccie, you recently funded Absolute Zero, the report that explains how you plan to arrive at what Sir Humphrey would no doubt label a ‘very courageous’ emissions target.

According to the Absolute Zero timeline, by the end of this decade: ‘All airports except Heathrow, Glasgow and Belfast close with transfers by rail’, and from 2030 to 2049 ‘All remaining airports close.’ So sea trade, perhaps? Well, no: ‘Shipping must contract’ because ‘there are currently no freight ships operating without emissions’, and from 2030 to 2049, ‘All shipping declines to zero.’

Britannia’s captains of the seas (and of industry) must be spinning in their watery graves. And the upside to this ‘net-zero’ utopia? ‘Most of what we enjoy – spending time together as families or communities, leisure, sport, creativity – can continue and grow unhindered.’ Whew! So Brits will happily return to a Thomas Hardy nirvana of Morris dancing around the maypole with merry workers whistling along to Sting’s famous tune as they harvest their fields of barley before towing their wares to market day by horse and cart. (Except that horse-and-carts are known for their own intolerable CO2 emissions).

The more likely scenario of day-to-day life in ‘net-zero’ Britain can be found in the scribblings of another British author, George Orwell. In an increasingly bureaucratic and heavy-handed Britain, scaremongering about the ‘climate crisis’ will repeatedly need to be whipped up in order to justify ever-increasing carbon/renewables prices in order to successfully transition completely out of fossil-fuels. If your economy contracts, greater measures will be needed to placate the angry working classes. For a teensy soupçon of a foretaste, pop over to France one weekend and spend a few hours hanging out avec les gilets jaunes.

In order to meet its 2050 commitments, Britain may increasingly find itself ensnared by the fiats and edicts of the globalist climate pontiffs of the United Nations and the IPCC. Democracy has no meaning when the little guy or gal can’t vote against directives imposed from beyond the boundaries of one’s own electorate. This was the great lesson of Brexit. And it is the great tragedy of this reckless embrace of globalist climate dogma.

OK, two more weeks then

‘Of course they’ll extend the deadline, they always do!’ Well, alright then. But just for another two weeks. The closing date for entries into the 2019 Spectator Australia Thawley Essay Prize (your chance to win $5,000, get published and have dinner with the judges) has been extended to Saturday March 14.

This years theme: ‘…or forever hold your peace’.

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