The great global warming scare has long been dying on its feet, but that sad fiasco of a conference in Rio last week saw it finally dead and buried. “It’s pathetic, it’s appalling,” wailed a spokesman for WWF, one of the thousands of green activists who flew to Rio, many at taxpayers’ expense, to see the last rites read over their lost dream.
Their cause has even been abandoned by one of its most outspoken champions, the green guru James Lovelock of “Gaia” fame, who now admits that the warming scare was all a tragic mistake, and that talk of “sustainable development” is just “meaningless drivel”.
But the “epic failure” of Rio, as Friends of the Earth called it, is an apt cue to recall how this leaves Britain as the only country in the world committed by law to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide by 80 per cent in less than 40 years. The Climate Change Act, on the Government’s own figures, faces us with a bill of up to £18 billion every year until 2050, making it by far the most costly law ever passed by Parliament.
More important still, however, this raises the question: how do all those MPs who voted almost unanimously for this target (only three voted against it) think we can meet this obligation without closing down virtually our entire economy?
This is the question which, in April, I invited readers to put to their MPs, and I am very grateful to all those who have now sent me the replies they received, from nearly 50 MPs. These, I fear, are even more depressing than I anticipated.