Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dude, where's my North Sea oil money? - And related musings

Interesting article in today's Guardian under the heading Dude, where's my North Sea oil money? Note the reference to Nigel Lawson.

On a related note, I remember the late Crispin Aubrey's 2008 article under the heading Britannia to rule the waves? Ambitions for offshore.

I would suggest that, if the North Sea oil and gas money hadn't been squandered (not to mention the squandering of the actual oil and gas!), Britain could now be the world leader in renewables development and deployment, rather than finding itself in perpetual catch-up mode.

This saga reminds me of a memorable and inspiring meeting organised by FoE in the run-up to the Climate Change Act, where I had opportunity to raise the Nigel Lawson issue very publicly in the form of a question addressed to Peter Ainsworth, as follows:

"While we are gathered here, Nigel Lawson is delivering a speech at a Rotary event in Leicester, introducing his new book on the economics and politics of climate change, in which he accuses the Stern report of scaremongering. In other words, he has the audacity of questioning the global scientific consensus on climate change and laments the alleged negative effect of preventive measures on business and the economy, while for some mysterious reason ignoring the fact that an enlightened energy policy could create tens of thousands of jobs so that, as one recent article put it, Britannia could once again rule the waves. Does your party intend to try and educate sceptics such as His Lordship by pointing out the potential economic benefits of sustainable development?"

Rather encouragingly, Peter Ainsworth (and needless to say the rest of the panel) was basically in full agreement with all aspects of my introductory comments and the actual question.

The trouble is, we/Britain seem to be going round in circles – or worse: backwards!