Thursday, September 11, 2008

The day the United Kingdom died

From NRO:

This is very big. Over in the UK, a group of Greenpeace supporters trespassed on to a coal-fired power station and started vandalizing it, painting a message to UK Prime Minister Gordon Borwn about global warming. They were arrested and prosecuted. Their defense strategy was to claim a "lawful excuse" on the grounds that their actions could help prevent significant damage to others' property that would result from global warming. Their defense witnesses included James Hansen, Al Gore's adviser and head of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies, and Zac Goldsmith, ultra-wealthy heir of Sir James Goldsmith and a wannabe Tory MP. The strategy worked. Yesterday, a jury returned a majority verdict, acquiting the so-called Kingsnorth Six. As The Independent put it, the jury decided the "threat of global warming justifies breaking the law."

The ramifications are huge. Operators of coal-fired power stations in the UK have just been stripped of legal protection from the criminal actions of the environmental lobby (to call them extremists would be wrong — this is the mainstream). It is perfectly possible that a future jury will find differently, but the chances of that happening have fallen dramatically. Investor confidence in coal energy will therefore be damaged. There will be huge political risk in building a new coal plant. Existing coal plants will come under literal attack.

This is, as Matt Sinclair points out, the frosting on a cake of anti-energy pressures:

We need to replace a huge share (PDF, pg. 67) of our generating capacity, at a cost of billions upon billions, in around a decade. The companies we are relying upon to do so already face a very tangible prospect of having the returns on their investment confiscated directly by windfall taxes or indirectly by threats of windfall taxes if they don't cough up. Their costs are constantly being pushed up by regulations and, when they pass that cost on to customers, they are demonised, in part by a Government funded pressure group.

Now when their property is damaged to the value of £30,000 the perpetrators will be let off...

Coal is out. The same people hate nuclear and will work to delay new nuclear plants. Renewables are marginal, even according to the Renewable Energy Foundation. North Sea Gas is running out, so the only solution to keep the lights on is kowtowing to Vladimir Putin and Gazprom.

Let us also be quite clear why this has happened. The energy industry in the UK and Her Majesty's Government have allowed the environmental groups free rein to delegitimize coal (and oil for that matter). They have invested nothing in defending fossil fuels, legitimizing their product or in advancing strategies to combat global warming that do not involve getting rid of coal. As a result, the jury was, in a literal sense, prejudiced against coal. The benefits of affordable energy for the many must be championed, otherwise we will end up with expensive energy for the few.

More discussion on the role of James Hansen here (a plausible case is presented that Hansen has breached codes of practice) and on the role of Zac Goldsmith and where this leaves the Tories here (together with a handy list of links to more Britblog commentary).

A court in the United Kingdom has just ruled that fealty to the religion of global warming is legal justification for anarchy.

Private property no longer exists in Britain as long as the property can be "plausibly" tied to "climate change".

The end of the UK is in sight. They have passed the tipping point and I no longer believe that it is possible that they can be saved.

The United States needs to begin planning for a "post-UK" foreign policy. And the American people need to contact their elected representatives and demand that James Hanson be fired at once. A man who supports terrorism, environmental or Islamofascist it makes no difference, has no business on the government payroll as a janitor much less the head of an important NASA installation.

H/T: Wolf Howling