"The really interesting news is that the €1 trillion EU budget for 2014-2020 is worse than anything we have seen in the recent granny-bashing UK budget. An amazing €200 billion is earmarked for 'climate action' and decarbonisation of our EU economy. In real money this is £27.5 billion per year, and about 12 times what the UK government raised from anti-carbon Air Passenger Duty taxation in 2011. Can you feel the taxman's hand in your pocket right now? Well if you can, soon EU Climate Change commissioner Connie Hedegaard will have her hand in the other."
• The well known ancient Chinese curse sounds mild to the unsuspecting: "May you live in interesting times". It was a subtle hint of all the forms of war, plague, famine, vengeance, death and bad luck that may lie in wait for anyone, any time. Life is hard enough without bringing more upon yourself.
We too live in interesting times, and they are about to become even more interesting in the six years from 2014-2020, as this is the next EU budgetary period. They intend to make villainous manmade CO2 the centre piece of the policy, 'carbon mainstreaming' will be integrated into all conceivable areas, as if it is not already.
But the manmade CO2 global warming story - and even climate change story - is stale, and the high-up EU panjandrums and muckety-mucks know it. We had the Climategate biased-scientist-for-hire scandal a few years ago, with leaked emails admitting that the data is dodgy and that they really need the EU funding to stay in a job. Mutters of "populist scepticism" about CO2 scare stories have even been heard in the late-night prognostications of the Environment committee which met some months ago in the week of the Strasbourg parliament plenary session at 10pm. What a joy it was to hear them admit it out loud, even if I did have to take my supper in with me.
But now the really interesting news is that the one trillion euro EU budget for 2014-2020 is worse than anything we have seen in the recent granny-bashing UK budget. An amazing €200 billion is earmarked for 'climate action' and decarbonisation of our EU economy. In real money this is £27.5 billion per year, and about 12 times what the UK government raised from anti-carbon Air Passenger Duty taxation in 2011 (figures from online Deloitte analysis of the UK budget, and EU European Energy Review article by Sonja van Renssen, 23 Feb 2012). Can you feel the taxman's hand in your pocket right now? Well if you can, soon EU Climate Change commissioner Connie Hedegaard will have her hand in the other. Interesting.
The EU and UK governments of course have zero intention of admitting the lack of statistically significant global warming in the last 15 years. They have no intention of admitting that the last 150 years of warming of about 0.7 degrees Celsius is probably normal natural variation since the last ice age, as none of their partial computer models predict it, and they ignore the fact that atmospheric water vapour causes over 80% of the earth's greenhouse gas effect, which is a good thing, or planet earth would be a ball of ice. So, 'garbage in, garbage out', as I used to say when I worked in the software industry. After all, in geological time the ice ages come and go - cooler, warmer, cooler, warmer, etc. There is a cartoon film about the last one, complete with woolly mammoths, cunningly entitled 'Ice Age', and no one has ever dared suggest that the Stone Age cavemen lit smoky fires and thus made the ice go away 20,000 years ago. An extremely formidable array of senior scientists across the world now sceptically mock the manmade CO2 scare agenda. I can provide more information and references than most require if anyone cares to email me, but Google on Prof. Richard Lindzen for a good technical summary recently presented in the House of Commons, or ask me for it.
The EU budget is not yet set in stone, there is some horse-trading to come yet, as the climate action increase represents 15% rise over the last climate change funding. But whatever the funding, we want to know what will they spend this vast sum on.
'Building renovations' for one. But obviously, if it is in anyone's cost-benefit interest to insulate or add solar panels, they should stump up themselves, not the taxpayer.
So how about 'clean energy R&D'? More windmills anyone? Well, if industry can see a profit margin in it, they can do it. After all, investment is a major component of GDP. More GDP is good. But so is government spending a large component of GDP, and they never ever calculate profit and loss. They don't care, they are spending a budget, not earning a crust.
So how about 'cross-border interconnectors' - making the ever more stressed electricity grid cope with on-off windmill and solar PV electricity? Worried yet? Well you should be.
My final fine gem is 'greener transport'. That means biofuel whether it makes economic sense or not. It means forcing cars off the road with more expensive petrol. Presumably the busses will still run. And it means electric cars that can go short distances, are expensive, unpopular, and easy to turn into 'bricks on wheels' if the batteries are not quite lovingly tended - not a cost-benefit analysis that works for me.
Last, but not least, I will introduce the newly appointed EU chief scientist, Anne Glover. The EU needs more trappings of state. She is a molecular biologist, reporting direct to EU Commission President Mr Barroso, and she warns that, "if we had unabated man-made climate change, we could go through an absolutely horrible period of conflict and migration, until the world's population started diminishing very rapidly." (www.euractiv.com, 20mar2012). I want her pay, I am sure it is more than I get now. I can state the blindingly obvious that well, if not better. I know that she is only reading a script, but she is a molecular biologist, not an atmospheric physicist or climatologist. And she is bound to know what I learned in 'O' level biology: that CO2 is vital for plant life, and that more is better as they grow faster in response, thus soaking it up in the growing season, which accounts for the annual atmospheric CO2 concentration cycle of rise and fall. Better tomatoes and all that. But I would not really want to be a bought-and-paid for scientist. I see myself as just a parasite, swimming around in the belly of the beast that is Brussels. Still, it's a living.