After months of willingly going along with the unrealistic climate change targets set by his virtue-signaling predecessor in the job, Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak asserted himself last week by proposing to delay and modify some of the worst of them in a major address to the nation. In doing so, the Prime Minister sets himself at the tip of the spear for what now seems likely to become an accelerating trend.
For those who missed it, Sunak proposed revisions include delaying the ban on the sale of new diesel and gasoline-powered cars from 2030 to 2035. That move was immediately slammed by British carmakers who no doubt feel like spectators at a Wimbledon tennis match as they try to conform their business plans to a target that originally stood at a seemingly reasonable 2040, but was modified by Johnson to an impossible 2030 in his zeal to enhance and virtue signal about his green credentials. The revision to 2035 probably remains unattainable, but the British carmakers had bought into the plan in the hope of extracting more subsidies from an already debt-ridden government. (RELATED: DAVID BLACKMON: The Auto Workers Strike Could Be The Last Gasp Of A Dying Industry)
Other revisions proposed by Sunak include delaying enormously costly proposals to phase out the use of both oil and gas boilers, creating an exemption for the ongoing use of both types of boilers for which about 20% of British households will qualify, and other revisions designed to ease costs on both businesses and consumers. Also being scrapped are a proposed new tax on meat consumption, and higher taxes on airline travel designed to discourage flying.
All the revisions and delays are perfectly reasonable, practical, and designed to conform policy to actual reality instead of continuing to try to force economically destructive changes for the sake of meeting arbitrary climate goals devised by the UN and the World Economic Forum. It seems likely, in fact, that other nations, including the US and Canada, will witness their leaders proposing similar policy revisions as near-term elections approach and the impracticality of these goals and timelines becomes increasingly obvious to all.
We have already begun to see entire governments falling apart largely because of their climate impracticality, in countries like the Netherlands, Greece, and Italy. The governments replacing those failed authoritarian regimes are now systematically going about invoking their own revisions in climate policy. In other nations where elections have yet to take place since the adoption of such policies, we will either see the ruling regimes revise their own draconian approaches or face the prospect of being tossed out of office by angry voters who have grown weary of constantly rising costs for all forms of energy.
For Sunak, the political motivation in making the policy changes is to put some space between his conservative party and the socialist British Labor Party. As if on cue, labor leaders quickly obliged him, announcing less than 24 hours after his speech that, if elected to a majority in upcoming elections, their party would move quickly to bat the tennis ball back over the net and restore Johnson’s unattainable goals. Of course, that will also mean restoring all the tax proposals and other costly mandates that will fall on consumers to bear.
These efforts to try to force a non-market-based energy transition into being through trillions of dollars in debt-funded subsidies were always destined to face this kind of tipping point. Anytime governments in supposedly free nations mandate policy revisions that result in dramatic negative changes to the public’s living standards, social unrest is the inevitable result.
In the US, the negative impacts from the radical Biden climate policies are already showing up in official census data. This past week, the US Census Bureau reported that 26 million households now find themselves in a state of energy poverty. This should hardly surprise anyone given the skyrocketing prices at the local grocery store that have taken place since Biden was sworn into office. There is a direct cause and effect relationship here.
What it all boils down to is that, for all the criticism Sunak is taking in the press for this week’s policy revisions, he is most likely at the tip of a rapidly accelerating spear.
David Blackmon is an energy writer and consultant based in Texas. He spent 40 years in the oil and gas business, where he specialized in public policy and communications.
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