Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Net Zero Watch: Net Zero push could bankrupt Church of England, Archbishop Welby is warned


In this newsletter:

1) Net Zero push could bankrupt Church of England, Archbishop Welby is warned
The Sunday Telegraph, 30 January 2022
2) Nigel Farage in talks about Net Zero Referendum
Daily Express, 31 January 2022

3) Three out of five Britons would not vote for an MP who backs ban of new petrol and diesel cars 
The Scottish Sun, 30 January 2022
4) Soaring energy bills will rise by nearly HALF to £1,900 a year from April 
Daily Mail, 29 January 2022
5) German finance minister backs early end to green energy levy
Reuters, 30 January 2022
6) Poland blames EU climate policies for rising energy prices
Bloomberg, 31 January 2022
7) Editorial: No 10 urgently needs a coherent energy policy
The Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2022
8) UK Gas Production Could Plunge 75% By 2030, 28 January 2022
9) Robert Zubrin: Putin’s Green Fifth Column
National Review, 28 January 2022
10) Europe's inflation pressures mainly driven by rising energy prices
Eurasia Review, 30 January 2022
11) As Biden doubles down on his War on Energy, prices keep shooting up
New York Post, 29 January 2022

Full details:

1) Net Zero push could bankrupt Church of England, Archbishop Welby is warned
The Sunday Telegraph, 30 January 2022

Worried clergy say new rules on boilers would hit rural churches hardest and could bankrupt struggling parishes

Justin Welby’s push for net zero could force churches to close and leave congregations shivering in the pews, clergy have warned.
The Church of England is proposing to cajole vicars into replacing traditional boilers with green alternatives, a move likely to pile excessive costs on parishes when some are already close to collapse.

Those that insist on a gas or oil replacement will be faced with a lengthy and bureaucratic process.

It means churches whose boilers break down and cannot afford a climate-friendly alternative could go for months without heat.
Bankrupt struggling parishes
Worried clergy have said that the rule, which will be presented at next month’s General Synod, would hit rural churches hardest and could bankrupt struggling parishes.
It echoes increasing concern across society about the costs to ordinary people of carbon-reduction targets.
The Church of England’s drive to reach net zero by 2030 is more aggressive than that of the Government, which has an overall target of 2050, with a pledge to ban gas boilers in new buildings from 2025 and to prevent them being sold at all from 2035.
In November Archbishop Welby likened climate change to the rise of Nazism, although he later apologised for the comparison.

The new proposal comes amid warnings about the future of the parish, fuelled by the pressures of the pandemic.
A leaked document last year suggested that the Church of England might need to do away with the current grassroots model to stay financially viable.

Church attendance outside London has declined 40 per cent over the past three decades, and countryside parishes are increasingly struggling to pay their priests.
Father Marcus Walker, rector at Great St Bartholomew’s in London and part of the Save The Parish campaign, said: "This is a policy designed by people who won’t actually have to implement it.

“It will increase the difficulties of those struggling to keep their parishes open and it will certainly tip some over the edge.”

The Church of England says that replacements for fossil fuel boilers should include heat pumps, biomass boilers, or an electric boiler run on renewable electricity.

Heat pumps are considerably more expensive to install, more expensive to run, and would be unsuitable to spacious, poorly insulated buildings such as churches, according to experts.
Mike Foster, CEO of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, applauded the church for trying to tackle climate change, but added: “It is potentially misguided advice at this stage, partly because swapping a traditional gas boiler for a heat pump is going to mean an upfront cost far in excess of what a replacement boiler would be.

“Parishes are not awash with cash, so how on earth can they afford to put in heat pumps?”

According to government figures, the average cost of replacing a fossil fuel burning boiler in a domestic home is roughly £2,500 compared with £10,000 for installing a heat pump, while the running costs for a heat pump are about £200 higher per year.
Biogas is not carbon neutral
Mr Foster said waiting for hydrogen to be blended into the gas network, expected to begin next year, would be the most viable option for reducing carbon as it would not necessitate equipment change.

Meanwhile biogas is not carbon neutral.
“My advice to any vicar is to replace what you’ve got with what you’ve got,” he said.
The Church of England allows vicars to apply to their archdeacon for permission for non-major changes to their church, including a like-for-like boiler replacement.
However, if the General Synod adopts the new proposal, named GS2245, to get permission for a replacement gas or oil boiler they will have to apply for a Faculty, a process which requires extensive documentary preparation and often legal and architectural advice, akin to making a planning application to a local council.
Decisions frequently take months to come back.
Father Walker said: “When a boiler goes down it will take forever to get a new one in.
“Will churches have to close over the whole winter or ask parishioners to worship in freezing conditions?”
“This is going to hit rural parishes the hardest - it’s going to make life really difficult.”
Becky Clark, the Church of England director of churches and cathedrals, said: “The Government has made clear that it intends to phase out the installation of new fossil fuel boilers, so these changes are intended to be in line with that aspiration and allow parishes to prepare for a lower carbon future.
“While most of these proposals would make it easier to gain permissions to carry out work in church buildings, like-for-like replacement of fossil fuel boilers would require an extra step.
“Although green alternatives to fossil fuel boilers are likely to be cheaper in the longer term, short-term funding is on the list of topics parishes need addressed and the national teams supporting parishes with their buildings are aware of this need.”
2) Nigel Farage in talks about Net Zero Referendum
Daily Express, 31 January 2022

NIGEL Farage is in "negotiations" for a referendum on Boris Johnson's net-zero plans, it has been claimed.


The Brexit champion is said to be in "very serious" conversations to launch a campaign to fight for a vote on whether or not Britain should take action to become carbon-neutral. Mr Farage's plan, unveiled by Christopher Hope, comes at a critical time for the Prime Minister, whose leadership is being challenged by a series of damaging scandals.

Mr Hope wrote in his weekly Telegraph column: "One referendum isn't enough for Nigel Farage.

"He is quietly in negotiations with donors about launching a campaign to force a vote on net zero.

"He tells me that the policy is 'profoundly un-Conservative' and that, although talk of a series of rallies in March and April is 'premature', he is in 'very serious conversations' about campaigning for a referendum."

According to Mr Hope, Mr Farage said "we cannot trust the House of Commons".

The Government's proposal for reaching net-zero emissions, which was revealed in October last year, involves an expansion of electric vehicles, further growth of offshore wind and investments in new technologies such as hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel.

It also includes commitments to end the sales of new fossil fuel cars by 2030 and gas boilers by 2035 as well as building new nuclear power plants.

The strategy is supposed to "unlock" £90bn in investment in the next decade — a large part from private sector companies — and create up to 440,000 jobs.

The question is, does the British public want the UK to go ahead with it?

Mr Farage's remarks suggest he doesn't think so, and that Britons should — just like they did with Brexit — get a chance to have their say.

A poll back in October showed 42 percent of British adults would support a ballot on the net-zero plan, whilst 30 percent would oppose it.

Close to a third — 28 percent — did not declare a preference.

According to a YouGov survey, when the "don't knows" were excluded from the results, a majority of 58 percent wanted a vote on the issue.
Full story
3) Three out of five Britons would not vote for an MP who backs ban of new petrol and diesel cars 
The Scottish Sun, 30 January 2022

BORIS Johnson is facing a voter backlash over plans to ban new petrol and ­diesel cars sales in 2030.

Three out of five would not vote for an MP who backs the idea, a survey reveals.

The growing anger is revealed in the study of 41,000 road users, including car, van and taxi drivers, truckers, bikers, cyclists and walkers

There is also overwhelming ­support for a referendum on the Government action to hit its net zero target for harmful emissions.

Most alarming for the PM is hardening opposition to curbs on motorists among voters in the former Red Wall seats.

Some 79 per cent of them say it is unlikely or impossible he will hit a 2050 net zero goal.

The growing anger is revealed in the study of 41,000 road users, including car, van and taxi drivers, truckers, bikers, cyclists and walkers.

Tory Craig Mackinlay, chairman of the Net Zero Scrutiny group of MPs, said: “A big backlash is brewing unless we see a change of direction soon.”

FairfuelUK founder Howard Cox, who organised the survey with the Alliance of British Drivers and the Motorcycle Action Group, accused ministers of “green ­fantasy edicts”.

He warned it could lead to a “massacre at the ballot box” for the Tories.
4) Soaring energy bills will rise by nearly HALF to £1,900 a year from April 
Daily Mail, 29 January 2022

Energy bills are set to rise by nearly half to £1,900 from April under new plans, as calls for Rishi Sunak to end VAT on gas and electricity increase.

The energy price cap is set to rise in April, with industry analysts predicting that the cap will rocket to £1,897 for average users, in increase of 48 per cent from its current level of £1,277.

After plans are finalised this week, energy regulator Ofgem will announce the energy price cap increase, which will come into force from April 1, at 7am on Monday, according to The Telegraph.

The energy price cap limits the amount that suppliers can charge for their default electricity and gas tariffs in England, Scotland and Wales.

It comes after Rishi Sunak has come under increasing pressure on Friday to agree on measures to help families amid fears that energy bills could spark a cost-of-living crisis.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Boris Johnson will consider slashing VAT on energy bills despite appearing to rule it out just three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Cornwall Insight, an energy market analysis firm, reportedly predicted the increase to the energy price cap with soar by almost 50 per cent, increasing from £1,277 to £1,897 for average users.

Based on forecasts for the gas cost from February to July, Cornwall Insight also believes that the price cap is likely to soar again in October, to an estimated £2,054.

Energy firms, Labour and some Tory MPs have piled pressure on ministers to axe the 5 per cent VAT rate on domestic fuel this winter.

It is believed that slashing the levy would cost the Treasury £2.5billion and knock around £90 off an average household fuel bill.

This week, it was reported that Boris Johnson will consider slashing VAT on energy bills to help struggling families despite appearing to rule it out just three weeks ago.

Mr Johnson warned earlier this month that scrapping the disliked tax on domestic fuel could prove a 'blunt instrument' that would benefit better-off families more than the needy.

A government source said earlier this week the proposed VAT cut has 'never not been one of several options' under consideration despite Mr Johnson's comments, but stressed that no decisions have been made.

It is understood that the Prime Minister and Rishi Sunak were hoping to meet to discuss the options and intend to make an announcement before February 7.
Ministers are understood to be increasingly keen for a 'broad brush' measure which will help middle-income families as well as those on lower wages.

During the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign, Mr Johnson and Michael Gove pledged to scrap VAT on energy bills if the UK left the EU.

Earlier this week, Labour reiterated its call to slash the tax as it warned that a million more disabled people are now 'trapped in hardship' and poverty than in 2010.

An analysis of Department for Work and Pensions figures by the Party found the number of disabled people living in poverty is currently 3.8 million – increasing from 2.6 million in 2010 when the Conservative Party came to power.

Anneliese Dodds, Labour's women and equalities spokesman, warned that the cost of living crisis 'has seen poverty explode' and called on the Government to adopt Labour calls to cut VAT on energy bills.

Miss Dodds said: 'Instead of taking action to help [disabled people], the Tories slashed Universal Credit, cut £70million in disability benefits and voted against Labour's measure to reduce energy bills.

'Labour's contract with the British people will ensure disabled people are treated with respect and our fully-costed energy plan would see those most in need getting up to £600 off their energy bills.'

Labour has claimed that the cost of living crisis has disproportionately affected disabled people, adding that the 'overall rate of disability poverty' now stands at 27 per cent – growing by a fifth since 2010.

Age UK revealed that 24 per cent of older people believe they will be forced to choose between heating their home and the food they buy if their energy bills increase substantially.

More than half of over-65s said they would have to heat their home less if their bills increase, a survey for Age UK found.

And 43 per cent said they would have to cut back, go into debt or simply will not be able to afford to pay their bill, according to the research among over-65s.
Full story
5) German finance minister backs early end to green energy levy
Reuters, 30 January 2022

BERLIN, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Germany may scrap a levy on electricity bills that is used to support renewable power from the second half of the year, to ease the strain of rising energy costs on households, Finance Minister Christian Lindner was quoted as saying on Sunday.

Germany's three ruling parties had planned to abolish the EEG surcharge on electricity bills from Jan. 1, 2023, but Chancellor Olaf Scholz may have to act sooner given the surge in costs.

Energy prices in Germany in December were up 69% compared with December 2020. Any military action in Ukraine by gas supplier Russia would be likely to push them even higher.

"If the coalition agrees on it, I would make it financially viable and the EEG surcharge would be removed mid-year," Lindner was quoted as saying by Der Spiegel magazine. "This would equate to billions in relief for families, pensioners and people on social benefits, as well as medium and small companies and craftspeople."

The surcharge was cut by 43% from Jan. 1 but is still expected to cost households an average 222 euros ($247.37) this year.

Earlier this month, the co-leader of Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) party said the charge may be scrapped altogether this year. Scholz's SPD govern with Lindner's pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the ecologist Greens.

A Finance Ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday she couldn't give any details about how talks between the three parties on scrapping the levy were progressing.

Some 4.2 million German households will see their electricity bills rise by an average 63.7% this year while 3.6 million face gas bills 62.3% higher than in 2021 as suppliers pass on record wholesale costs, industry data suggests.
6) Poland blames EU climate policies for rising energy prices
Bloomberg, 31 January 2022

Consumers reeling from soaring energy prices in Poland this winter are getting a new message from the government in their electric bills: the European Union’s climate policy is responsible for more than half of the power production costs.

Earlier this month, the Polish climate ministry mandated that the nation’s energy providers detail the impact of carbon-emissions costs in invoices to households. While those bills don’t explicitly blame the EU, the cost breakdown suggests that the bloc’s rising prices for carbon are falling on coal-dependent Poland.

There’s also no mention of how the government used billions of euros in EU carbon trading revenues, which go to member states.

“This is manipulation,” said Marcin Kowalczyk, head of the climate team at WWF Poland, an environmental non-governmental organization. “It threatens shifting the public opinion in Poland against the EU and its climate policies.”

The dispute risks exacerbating already fraught relations between Warsaw and Brussels and could complicate talks about the EU’s Green Deal, sweeping climate reforms the bloc is implementing in order to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century. Poland, which is embroiled in a broader dispute with the EU over the rule of law, has argued that it faces increasing expenses to meet the bloc’s climate goals.

Full story
7) Editorial: No 10 urgently needs a coherent energy policy
The Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2022
Other countries are retreating from some of the more extreme manifestations of their net zero policies in order to provide relief to their publics.
When the then Labour leader Ed Miliband proposed intervening in the energy market in order to keep customer bills down, the Conservatives decried his measure as socialism. Yet only a few years later, under Theresa May, they decided that the state knew best after all. A price cap was introduced, intended to prevent energy companies from charging excessive amounts. As global energy prices have surged, it has trapped the Government in a spiral of bailouts, subsidies and interventions while doing nothing to protect households from rising bills.

In the coming weeks, the expectation is that it will be announced that the cap must be raised by around 50 per cent in April. That is an extraordinary increase, amounting to hundreds of pounds extra per household, and piling further pain onto people who are already struggling with rising inflation across a swathe of areas. In the circumstances, you might expect the Government would be doing everything possible to alleviate some of this pain, not least because it threatens to create a political backlash that could swamp the ructions over Partygate. Yet if ministers are planning something, they are being very quiet about it.

It would be troubling if Downing Street’s efforts to extricate itself from the row over allegations of lockdown parties were to distract it from the actual business of government. It is true that a significant proportion of the increase in energy prices is down to factors beyond ministers’ control, including surging global demand for gas post-lockdown and the behaviour of Vladimir Putin.

Nevertheless, the percentage of energy bills made up of tax and environmental levies is not small. While it might be sensible for the Government to ensure that any measures are targeted and do not unfairly burden taxpayers, other countries are at least temporarily retreating from some of the more extreme manifestations of their net zero policies in order to provide relief to their publics.

It would also represent leadership if the Government were to start taking significant steps to reduce the country’s reliance on volatile international energy markets, by permitting greater exploitation of the UK’s gas reserves, for example, or rolling out new nuclear plants more rapidly. The benefits may not be felt for many years. But the whole country has paid the price for previous governments’ total absence of any strategy for Britain’s long-term energy needs.

If the denouement to Partygate does not come in short order, the danger is that No 10 is left paralysed, incapable of addressing any of the other crises that are rapidly heading into view. The country needs stability and action, not yet more drift and delay.
8) UK Gas Production Could Plunge 75% By 2030, 28 January 2022

The UK could become much more vulnerable to price shocks and geopolitical events unless new offshore fields are approved and developed—and the UK’s gas production could plummet by 75 percent by 2030, the offshore energy industry body OGUK said on Thursday.
Without new investment in new gas fields in the North Sea, the UK will be left more vulnerable to crisis, such as the current one between Russia and Ukraine, the industry association noted.
Additional price shocks would add to the ongoing energy crisis in the UK where gas and power suppliers are going bust, while customers face a cost-of-living crisis when the energy market regulator Ofgem raises the price cap on energy bills as of April 1. The worst is yet to come for consumers in April, when millions of households would be thrown into energy poverty, with many people having to choose between eating and heating. 
Domestic production currently meets 47 percent of the UK’s gas demand, 31 percent comes from pipeline imports from Europe, mostly from Norway, and 21 percent from LNG imports. In 2020, Russia supplied 3.4 percent of the UK’s gas, OGUK said.
According to the industry body, new fields are needed in the UK North Sea to stave off a predicted 75-percent plunge in domestic supplies if no new fields are approved. Many fields remain to be tapped, according to geological surveys. Such fields are estimated to contain oil and gas equivalent to 10-20 billion barrels of oil—enough to sustain production for 10-20 years, OGUK said.
“In the longer term, if UK gas production is allowed to fall as predicted, then our energy supplies will become ever more vulnerable to global events over which we have no control – as we now see happening with Russia’s threatened invasion of Ukraine,” OGUK Energy Policy Manager Will Webster said on Thursday.
9) Robert Zubrin: Putin’s Green Fifth Column
National Review, 28 January 2022
German environmentalists have made the country dependent on Russian energy, a weakness with geopolitical implications we are seeing now.


It is now apparent that unless further actions are taken to deter him, Vladimir Putin intends to proceed with his plan to mount a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Yet any effective military or economic deterrent is being undermined by Germany, which has refused to agree to any meaningful threat of sanctions. Indeed, Germany has gone so far as to attempt to block other NATO nations from sending Ukraine any arms to defend itself. According to the Germans, Putin needs to be free to slaughter and subjugate Ukrainians, because otherwise he might cut off Germany’s natural-gas supplies.

In fact, Germany’s dependence on Russia for its natural gas is an entirely self-inflicted weakness.
Let’s compare the sources of German and French electricity.


Table: Source of Power in Germany and France. (Data for January 22, 2022, courtesy

A number of important points stand out from this data. In the first place, note that the Germans get far more energy from coal than from natural gas Note also that while Germany now only gets 4 GW of power from nuclear energy it previously obtained 22 GW of nuclear power, nearly twice the total amount it gets from all gas, not just the 40 percent that comes from Russia. Finally note that Germany’s “green” power has resulted in 541 gms of CO2 emission per kWh. This is six times the 95 gm/kWh of nuclear-powered France.

In short, Germany’s dependence on Russian gas is entirely an artifact of Germany’s decision to shut down its nuclear-power plants. This dependence is not only driving Germany to sabotage any effort to deter Russian military expansionism, it is also funding the Russian war effort itself.

Russia’s foreign gas sales totaled $54 billion last year, while its defense budget was $62 billion. Through their gas purchases, the Germans are literally financing Russia’s war on Ukraine.

There is no limiting principle to this dependency. While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the German argument for passivity in the face of Russian aggression would hold if Russia attacked the Baltic states or Poland as well. Sorry we can’t help you, dear Poles. Germany needs Russian gas.
Not only that, but like a drug addict seeking to induce his friends to join him in enslavement to his pusher, they are trying to increase Russian leverage over all of Europe by pushing the EU to replace nuclear power with natural gas on a continent-wide basis. Thus, in the EU’s deliberations over its energy “taxonomy” they are arguing that natural gas should be considered carbon-free, but that nuclear power should not.
In making this case, the Germans are maintaining a position that is precisely the opposite of what all know to be physical reality. Not only that, but the Green movement, which effectively dominates Germany’s political ideas, has had a continent-wide campaign — with vocal Russian backing — to prevent Europe from becoming independent in natural gas by fracking its abundant shale resources 
The Greens have also acted to block the establishment of liquid natural gas (LNG) terminals that would allow the importation of LNG from the Unites States or the Mideast. So the Germans and their Green international allies are not really in favor of natural gas. They are just in favor of Russian natural gas.
In the United States the Green movement operates primarily through the Democratic Party. While they do not completely control the Biden administration, they have a strong voice in it. Accordingly, to appease his Green supporters, President Biden has acted to sabotage American oil and gas production while calling on OPEC nations to increase their output, lest prices rise too high.

These actions do not align with the claim of the Green movement that it is simply trying to protect the global environment. Oil and gas produced in Russia and OPEC nations do not merely create the same amount of pollution as the oil and gas produced in the West, they create considerably more. This is because Russia and OPEC countries have much weaker environmental enforcement than Western countries. Furthermore, many of them flare enormous amounts of natural gas associated with oil production.
In contrast, because the United States has a well-developed pipeline system that can bring associated gas to market, only a small fraction of our gas is flared. Furthermore, the claim of Green advocates in Germany that they must close their nuclear-power plants because of fears that they might experience a domestic Fukushima is simply absurd. Germany has never, and can never, be swept by tsunamis. As for other kinds of accidents, the record is clear. Close to a thousand pressurized water reactors have been operating worldwide on land and sea since 1954, and not one of them has ever harmed a single member of the public. No other energy source has a safety record remotely as good.
The positions of the Green movement make no sense whatsoever from the point of view of their alleged goals of reducing pollution, carbon emissions, and risks to public health. They make perfect sense, however, if viewed as a central effort in support of Putin’s war on the West.
Nuclear power and fracking are essential to the defense of the West. In fighting to shut them down, the Greens are serving as Putin’s fifth column
10) Europe's inflation pressures mainly driven by rising energy prices
Eurasia Review, 30 January 2022
The chart of the week shows how surging energy costs have boosted inflation, especially in Europe, after fossil-fuel prices nearly doubled in the past year. Rising food prices have also helped to boost inflation.


Meanwhile, continuing supply chain disruptions, clogged ports, logistics strains and strong demand for merchandise have broadened these price pressures, especially in the United States. Higher imported goods prices have contributed to inflation in some regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean.
Inflation is likely to remain elevated. Price gains this year will average 3.9 percent in advanced economies and 5.9 percent in emerging market and developing economies, before subsiding next year, according to our January World Economic Outlook update.
Assuming inflation expectations remain well-anchored and the pandemic eventually eases its grip, higher inflation should fade as supply chain woes ease, central banks raise interest rates, and demand tilts more toward services again instead of goods-intensive consumption.

Oil futures contracts indicate crude prices will rise about 12 percent this year as natural gas prices climb about 58 percent. Such increases for both commodities would be considerably less than their gains last year, and would likely be followed by falling prices in 2023 as supply-demand imbalances ease further.

Similarly, food prices are likely to climb at a more moderate pace of about 4.5 percent this year and decline next year—after a rise of 23.1 percent last year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. This should ease spending pressures for millions of people around the world, especially in countries with lower incomes.

Such burdens fall most heavily on residents of emerging and low-income nations, where food typically makes up a third to half of consumer spending. That share is smaller in advanced economies, such as the United States, where food accounts for less than one-seventh of household shopping bills.

11) As Biden doubles down on his War on Energy, prices keep shooting up
New York Post, 29 January 2022
With countries like China and India pumping out massive and growing amounts of CO2 each year, Biden's measures can barely dent the rise in global emissions -- but they're doing a great job of inflicting pain.
Price of oil tops $90 a barrel for first time since 2014
Think energy costs are high now? Just wait: President Joe Biden is doubling down on his War on Energy, and that’s sure to keep prices zooming up, up and . . . up.

Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency is writing new rules that will raise costs for fossil-fuel-based power plants. And, as Kenneth R. Timmerman noted in The Post last week, Team Biden has also moved to kill the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Pipeline, which would’ve brought Israeli and Cypriot natural gas to gas-starved Europe, helping ease shortages there.

The prez is also reviving Obama-era loan guarantees for “clean energy” producers, starting with $1 billion in backing for a Nebraska company that will make “clean” hydrogen.

That guarantee could cost taxpayers; think Solyndra, the solar-panel company Team Obama aided to the tune of $500 million before it went belly-up — only with the stakes now twice as high. Favoring such companies also puts traditional energy producers at a competitive disadvantage.

Meanwhile, a Russian invasion of Ukraine would worsen European energy shortages; Russia provides 30% to 40% of Europe’s oil, gas and coal. Team Biden is working on a plan to get global producers to increase output and divert gas shipments just in case, but many are already near maximum. Brace for worldwide prices to skyrocket even more.

Americans are already paying about $3.33 a gallon for gas at the pump, nearly 40% percent more than a year ago. US benchmark crude oil just hit a seven-year high, $87 a barrel. Home heating fuel costs are up more than 40%.

High gas-pump prices are particularly painful for lower-income workers who can’t work from home and must commute. But rising energy costs also fuel higher price tags for other goods and services — food, clothing, other manufactured products, transportation. Last month’s Consumer Price Index pegged overall inflation at 7%, the highest in 40 years. That, too, hits the poor hardest.

Biden’s green agenda clearly deserves blame for pushing up energy prices: He killed the Keystone XL pipeline, threatened to shutter another critical conduit between Canada and Michigan, halted oil and gas leases on federal lands and is discouraging production and investment by vowing an ever-greater crackdown on fossil fuels.

Think about it: Though oil prices were much higher in 2021 than in 2018, US shale producers’ capital investments were down by about a third last year; production fell from 2020, which was already down from 2019. And fewer supplies mean, yep . . . higher prices.

Indeed, the extremists driving Biden policy want higher energy prices — to make renewables seem more competitive.

The green agenda is all about pain and sacrifice in the name of fighting climate change. Yet with countries like China and India pumping out massive and growing amounts of CO2 each year, Biden’s measures can barely dent the rise in global emissions — but they’re doing a great job of inflicting pain.

The London-based Net Zero Watch is a campaign group set up to highlight and discuss the serious implications of expensive and poorly considered climate change policies. The Net Zero Watch newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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