Discussing Syria, conflict and climate change on Sky News


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Climate Change is a threat multiplier, and when you have an already stressed situation as you had in Syria, and then you add the extra stress caused by climate change, in this case the very prolonged drought that drove about a million and half people out of the rural areas in Syria into the cities, then you multiply that stress, and in this case it multiplied it to breaking point.

One of the things that Assad failed to do, as the drought got longer, was one, to manage his water resources effectively, and two, deal with the fact that it reduced food security for people, and as we saw in the Arab Spring, once people really feel their food security is threatened then life becomes very unstable indeed, which is what we have seen in Syria. So it’s not that climate change was the cause, but it was part of the build up of stresses that created the instability that Assad has been threatened by.

The existing stresses had been there for a very long time, the Assad regime had been managing to cope with and keep the lid on all the dissent inside Syria, right up until the point where the fourth year of drought drove millions of refugees into the cities, and led to the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Climate change is probably the most significant driver of massive migrations around the world, creating lots of tension particularly in places like the border between India and Bangladesh, where climate change and rising sea levels are already driving people out of Bangladesh and into India, in large numbers.

Population growth is beginning to peak, we are beginning to see a slow down, so it’s not now really the major driver of climate change. The really important driver is, that as people are becoming more affluent and using more energy, they are accelerating the pace at which the climate is changing, because energy is currently dominated by fossil fuels. So we need to get out of fossil fuels, as fast as we can, to slow down this process. If what we are seeing is in a sense the prelude to what a much warmer world would be like, if you don’t like this movie then you certainly won’t like the sequel.

I think we are beginning to go around a curve in which the level of political momentum has built up, the political risk of failing to act is growing, but the political risk of acting is reducing as the cost of renewable and of low-carbon alternatives goes down. We are beginning to see a change in the political equation. I think what Paris will do is accelerate us around that curve.




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What can we expect from COP21? – BBC World Service – Newshour












It’s just under a month before the start of COP21, the Paris climate change conference, at which global powers will try to achieve a universal and legally binding treaty to limit Green House Gas emissions. What can realistically be achieved?


What are the expectations for Paris?

I think the expectations are probably a lot better than people would have thought. The level of political momentum in the build up has been really very strong. A lot of leaders are going, so there will be an agreement, and it will be legally binding.  It will really, in a sense, put the world on a new track, because rather than just being a single COP, this will be the start of a series of COPs that will roll forward, in which countries will come back and review their promises, and ratchet them up as we go forward. So I think we’re not expecting something that will get the world to 2 degrees on its own, but it will create a railway line that will take us in that direction.


How will it be policed? How do you make sure that countries keep their promises?

That’s exactly right, there is no policeman. There is nobody who is going to come in there and declare war on you if you fail to meet your commitments. But there are an awful lot of other pressures and means by which countries can be kept to their promises, not the least that this has now become a major economic and security issue, so the stakes are higher for countries which break their promises. You’ve also got the option now, that if there is a legally binding international treaty and countries don’t meet their obligations under it, then you’re entitled under the trade rules to begin to impose border tax adjustments on people’s goods and services. But much more importantly there is enormous internal pressure from countries to keep their promises.


From all countries?

It’s the Anglo-Saxon countries; the Australia’s, Canada’s, America’s and Britain’s, where there’s really any doubt anymore that this really is a problem that has very serious implications. In most of the rest of the world the opinion polling is overwhelmingly that people realise that this is a problem, and realise that something has to be done. So there are lots of pressures on people to keep their promises, and not the least because there are lots businesses that are setting out to build the low carbon economy of the future, that if countries don’t keep their promises, will find their interests are affected.


How does one actually check emissions? What are the practicalities of individual countries checking on individual businesses?

There will be a mechanism, not so much at the level of individual companies but at the level of countries to monitor their performance against their promises, to report regularly on that, and to verify that those reports are accurate. What we will have for the first time out of this treaty, is people agreeing to use the same process for monitoring, reporting and verifying. And that’s what will enable these other forces, much as they do in other treaties such and human rights and non-proliferation, as it were, the court of public opinion and political opinion, to keep governments to their promises. And remember under this regime, in a sense, countries have all promised what they think they can deliver, and what we have seen in the past is that most countries have over-performed. So what I expect we will see, is not so much a problem of countries failing to deliver, is countries actually being pressed to deliver more, because it is becoming quite apparent that they can do that.


That has been one of the criticisms, the main criticism, is that countries, perhaps for those reasons, have promised less than they could deliver, but not enough has been done.

I think that’s absolutely right, but what I think that we are beginning to see now is the debate that has been dominated by the fossil fuel industries and their customers, begin to be balanced by a lot of other voices coming in, particularly all those businesses worth a lot more to countries economies, beginning to come in and say “hang-on this is damaging our interests”. So what we are seeing around the world is that the political risk of failing to act is growing, as climate driven events come in on countries, but the political risk of acting is going down, as renewables and the low-carbon economy begins to gather momentum, and the cost of dealing with climate change goes down.


Listen here…

news hour


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Why nuclear is a bad deal for Britain – BBC Politics Today – 21 October 15



Nuclear is the cuckoo in the nest it squeezes the others out of the energy market.  The reason why we are doing what we are doing, making so many policy changes in energy efficiency and renewables, and eliminating billions of pounds of investment, is to make sure that there in enough space in the electricity market for nuclear. Otherwise you wouldn’t get anybody to invest in it.

The reason why the wholesale price of electricity in Germany is half what it is in Britain, is because Germany has a large amount of renewables and that drives down wholesale energy prices. The way you pay for Hinkley is if the wholesale electricity price goes down, the subsidy you have to pay goes up. That’s an extraordinarily bad deal.

Offshore wind costs are coming down, nuclear costs are going up.

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Why Hinkley is a very bad deal for Britain – BBC News



Here at Hinkley Point alongside existing reactors is where George Osborne wants to build a new nuclear power station in Britain. It will be built by EDF, a French state owned electricity company, and will cost 24 and a half billion pounds, that’s more than Crossrail and the 2012 Olympics  put together.

To pay for it EDF will receive a guaranteed price for its electricity for 35 years, at twice the current price we pay for our electricity. That will add over a billion pounds a year to the energy bills of Britain’s hard working families.

I think that this is a very bad deal for Britain, I am not alone in thinking so, even David Howell, George Osbourne’s father in law, Mrs Thatcher’s first Energy Secretary agrees, not your usual ‘green suspect’.

There is real doubt about whether EDF can build Hinkley on time and within budget. There are three similar reactors in construction around the world already, one in China, one in Finland, and one in France. The French one is already 6 years late and three times over budget.

Investing more in renewables and energy efficiency is a cheaper and more reliable way of making sure that we keep the lights on, and our carbon pollution down. Earlier this year renewables provided a quarter of Britain electricity, more than nuclear. If Hinkley is allowed to go ahead, Britain’s families will be subsidising  an expensive folly rather than investing in the cleaner, greener, brighter future that the rest of the world is going ahead with.


This piece first appeared on the BBC News website



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Nuclear Cost – Letter to The Times, October 19 2015












The Times, letters, October 19 2015

To slash and burn renewable investment for the sake of costly support for new nuclear plants is unwise

Sir, George Osborne assumes that energy demand will increase (“Nuclear deal with China is threat to UK security”, Oct 16) but he should know that, since 2005, energy use in the UK has fallen 18 per cent. He claims a new nuclear station at Hinkley is good value — but how can it contribute to affordability for consumers if it adds £17 billion to the deficit and imposes £2 billion a year on household bills to support Chinese and French state industries?

Osborne says he will sign a deal to build Hinkley, even though he knows Austria and Luxembourg have launched a legal challenge, claiming UK subsidies violate EU law. Furthermore, he is aware of “critical anomalies” in the French reactor planned for Hinkley. French regulators are checking “serious flaws” in the reactor’s steel housing. The results will not be known until late 2016. How can a decision safely be made before then?

UK low-carbon energy offers huge potential for job creation. To slash and burn renewable investment for the sake of costly support for new nuclear is, at the very least, unwise — and will lead to profound problems for the UK long after the chancellor has quit his watch.

Dr Paul Dorfman
The Energy Institute, University College London
Prof Keith Barnham
Imperial College London
Prof Andy Blowers
Open University
Prof Tom Burke
Imperial and University Colleges
Dr John Downer
University of Bristol
Prof David Elliott
Open University
Dr Ben Fairweather
De Montfort University
Prof Jeffrey Henderson
University of Bristol
Dr Phil Johnstone
University of Sussex
Prof Nic Lampkin
UK Organic Research Centre
Jeremy Leggett
Solarcentury and SolarAid
Dr David Lowry
Nuclear Research Consultant
Dr Stuart Parkinson
Scientists for Global Responsibility
Prof Benjamin K. Sovacool
Aarhus University
Dr Alan Terry
University of the West of England
Prof Stephen Thomas
University of Greenwich
Oliver Tickell
The Ecologist
Dr David Toke
University of Aberdeen
Prof Peter A Strachan
Robert Gordon University
Prof Gordon Walker
Lancaster University
Dr Matt Watson
University of Sheffield

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The speech on Tuesday by Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England and Chairman of the Financial Stability Board is a game changer for climate change. Whatever you thought about the politics or economics of climate change yesterday is now outdated. The world really did change, not because of what was said, but because of who said it.

Scientists and environmental policy makers have been talking about the risks to prosperity and security of a failure to meet the goal of keeping the rise in global temperature below 2°C for some time. Recently they have been joined by a growing number of voices from within the military in the United States, Britain and elsewhere.

But the addition of the voice of one of the world’s most prominent central bankers adds a different dimension to the conversation. The Financial Stability Board was set up in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. Its task is to advise the governments of the G20 group of countries, the world’s largest economies, of threats to the stability of the world’s financial system.

Essentially, what Mr Carney said in his speech was that a failure to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C was a threat to financial stability. He went on to say that the more the temperature rises, the greater that threat. He also pointed out the nature of the problem was such that if we waited for instability to occur before we acted it would be too late to do so.

This speech will have many consequences for the politics of climate change as we run up to Paris and beyond. Two that immediately strike me as important are the shift it will make in the locus of climate policy within governments and the impact if will have on investor perceptions.

After maintaining external and internal security maintaining financial stability is one of the top priorities for any government. If, as Mr Carney is saying, climate change is a growing threat to financial stability then finance ministries rather than environment ministries will be the key influence on policy formation. This will lift the profile and the political weight of the issue and thus, over time, add to the already growing pressure of governments to act effectively.

The Carbon Tracker Initiative has already had a significant impact on investor perceptions of the fossil fuel industries, especially coal. Its claim that there was a risk of significant fossil fuel assets becoming stranded was explicitly endorsed by Mr Carney. Over time this will lead to the cost of capital for fossil fuel projects rising and that for low carbon technologies falling.

The political risk equation of climate change for governments has been changing slowly for some time. As the rising temperature has generated more extreme weather events and other impacts so the political risk of inaction has grown. Meanwhile, the falling cost of low carbon technologies has lowered the political risk of timely action. Mr Carney’s intervention has accelerated the rate at which this equation is changing.



Tom  Burke


October 2nd 2015



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Energy Transition Commission – some considerations


Shell and McKinsey have just launched a global initiative called the Energy Transition Commission. Doubts have been raised about whether the Commission as currently constructed has the integrity to make a positive contribution to the debate on how to keep the climate safe. There is a risk that this initiative will come to be seen as nothing more than a fossil industry public relations exercise. Below, I explain my doubts and explain what could be done to buttress the Commission’s integrity.













‘I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, please don’t let me be misunderstood’ THE ANIMALS


The Energy Transition Commission was launched in Houston, Texas on Monday 28th September 2015. It is an initiative put together by Shell and McKinsey. I was quoted online in the Financial Times on the Friday before the launch, describing the initiative as ‘ill-advised’. Let me explain why.

The purpose of the Commission is ‘to support energy decision-makers to meet the twin objectives of economic development and climate change mitigation.’ No-one could quarrel with the importance of this task, though one might wonder why this was only a matter for ‘energy decision-makers’. Energy is central to all our lives. Making a transition from high to low carbon energy has implications that go far wider than energy policy.

The world’s governments have accepted an obligation under the UNFCCC to keep the climate within the 2°C threshold of danger. Should they fail then economic development will be delayed, damaged or destroyed for us all. Clearly, the world’s fossil fuel companies have a part to play, along with everyone else, in meeting this challenge. There is no doubting the value of creating a better informed public debate on how to do so.

Shell has been among the first of the fossil companies to respond to the urgency and gravity of limiting climate change to 2°C. It has a better understanding than most of its peers about what is at stake. No-one should doubt the importance of identifying whether there are pathways for fossil fuel companies to remain viable within this constraint. Why then my reservations about this initiative?

There are two principal reasons why it is ill-advised. Neither the model used to create the Commission, nor the process it has adopted to develop its findings command confidence. This would have been true prior to the recent revelations about Volkswagen. It is even more true now.

Large corporations are not trusted by the public or civil society. They are perceived to, and often do, put their commercial interests above the public interest. Keeping the climate safe by eliminating carbon pollution is patently a direct threat to the future of fossil fuel companies. Faced with such a threat, any initiative primarily funded by the industry starts with a considerable credibility problem.

This is a difficult, but not insurmountable, problem. Unfortunately, the founders of this Commission have made no effort to solve it. Rather, we are asked to take on trust the choice by Shell and McKinsey of how, on what terms and with whom to establish the Commission. I have no doubt the organisers mean well but that is not enough for confidence.

The ‘wise men’ model, and indeed all but one of this Commission are men of a certain age, of establishing authority is a throwback to the 20th Century. The Brandt Commission on the global economy from 1977 and the Brundtland Commission on environment and development a decade later both helped start important global debates.

But times have moved on. Authority of any kind is much less readily accepted. In a connected world a more informed and better educated citizenry expects to participate directly in global debates about its future. Through a vast array of civil society bodies it is well organised to do so.

There is no reason for anyone to doubt the independence or the integrity of the individual Commissioners. They are all people with long track records, predominantly in the established energy sector. As a group they are remarkably alike. This creates an inevitable risk of group-think as their mutual respect for each other softens the edges of the acute debate between them necessary to tackle such a difficult set of problems.

This places a particular burden on the secretariat of the Commission. The Commissioners are busy people. The amount of time they will be able to devote to following the detail of the Commission’s work is, inevitably, limited.

Many of the Commissioners will, of course, have staff to support them personally. Even so, the scope of the Commission’s programme is so large – effectively advising nearly 200 nations on how best to build a carbon neutral energy system by the middle of the century – that much will depend on the knowledge and judgement of the secretariat.

It will be provided by McKinsey. This is a company with a great deal of experience in advising global corporations. It has been a significant thought leader in meeting the energy challenges of the 21st Century. It will undoubtedly bring a group of able and informed people to the task.

But, and this is a big but, McKinsey has an extensive set of other commercial relationships on a wide range of corporate issues with many of the companies represented on the Commission. Fair minded people with any experience of the realities of the corporate world will find it difficult to take on trust that these relationships do not compromise McKinsey’s ability to provide the ‘trusted, authoritative fact-base on key debates’ to which the Commission aspires.

This is a very heavily contested space. The ‘facts’ are elusive and not widely agreed. Much of the debate is conducted on the basis of projections whose assumptions are unclear and whose significance is capable of a wide range of interpretation. The stakes are very high for the large, powerful companies involved. Trust is in short supply.

Nevertheless, the huge task of keeping the climate safe does require an informed and sustained engagement between the fossil fuel companies and the rest of society. Tackling a problem of this magnitude needs all of us to play a part – not just ‘energy decision-makers’. Indeed, since we are all energy consumers we are all, in an increasingly important sense, energy decision-makers. An energy system compatible with a safe climate will not command the necessary investment if it does not also command wide public confidence.

Creating a group of like-minded Commissioner’s, selected by an obscure process, supported by a compromised secretariat is not obviously the best way to command public confidence. A difficult dilemma must first be resolved.

Only corporations or governments can afford the required level of funding to pay for any such initiative on a global scale. But if they pay for it, understandably few civil society organisations will readily accept the findings. If they do not pay for it, then it will not happen and the current dysfunctional debate will continue. This is a true dilemma. If the funding is accepted the value of the findings is lost. If the funding is not accepted there are no findings and so the value is lost anyway.

We have been here before. In the late nineties the global mining industry was widely considered to be dirty, dumb and dangerous. If faced widespread opposition to its activities across the world. Demand for its products was growing but its efforts to meet that demand were increasingly impeded by opposition. It had no answer to the question ‘How can mining be sustainable?’

This was a far less difficult problem than the one currently faced by the fossil fuel companies as the world works to keep the climate safe. Nevertheless, lessons were learned that are relevant to the challenges the Commission intends to address but which its founders have overlooked.

I was asked by Rio Tinto to advise the mining industry on how to meet this challenge. The result was the Global Mining Initiative which I created and helped to lead. The centrepiece of the GMI was a shared analysis[1] of the issues facing the industry as it tried to define its contribution to sustainable development. Its purpose, much the same as the Commission’s, was to identify an agenda for action around which industry, government, international institutions and civil society could align their efforts.

This project faced the same dilemma as the Commission. If the mining industry paid for the analysis its findings would be compromised. If industry did not pay for the analysis there would be no findings. Resolving this dilemma, as with all true dilemmas, required innovation and imagination. The result was the creation of an elaborate, and expensive, governance structure to safeguard the integrity of the analysis.

The willingness of the global mining industry to invest in these safeguards was a token both of its good faith and the seriousness it attached to the findings. The project dispensed with ‘wise men’ recognising that to be credible its findings needed to flow from direct dialogues between industry leaders and other social partners.

A dedicated secretariat was created supervised by a global assurance group with 25 members. Written charters governed the activities of the secretariat, the assurance group and the industry sponsors[2]. The dialogue ran for two years, involved four regional processes and a large number of workshops involving over 750 participants.

Elaborate and expensive though it was the results justified the effort. A tenth anniversary review of the project’s report found that it was exerting a continuing and beneficial influence on the activities of the mining industry and its relationship with society.

I know from experience what it takes to build trust in a global industry regarded with suspicion or even hostility. The fossil fuel industry comes into the climate change debate with a reputation at least as badly damaged as the mining industry.

Hence my conclusion that the establishment of the Energy Transition Commission in its current form is ill-advised. It faces a far more difficult challenge than the mining industry. The fossil fuel industry is already seen by many as working to minimise the collision between its future and the maintenance of a safe climate.

Without the kind of integrity safeguards described above, or some equally credible alternative, the findings of the Commission will not, and should not, command public confidence. This will reduce their impact on the wide range of decision makers involved in bringing about the energy transition.

The Commissioners have invested their personal reputations in this project. If it fails the integrity test those reputations will be damaged. Furthermore, there is a risk that the Commission’s work will be seen as an industry public relations campaign rather than a serious effort to play a part in tackling the most urgent problem facing the whole of humanity.

It is not too late to redeem the Commission. The magnitude and urgency of keeping the climate safe to permit development badly needs initiatives of this ambition. As now constructed it lacks sufficient integrity to make a positive contribution. Indeed, there is a real risk that it will be widely seen as an industry inspired effort to muddy the waters. The first meeting of the Commission will be an opportunity to remedy its defects. Whether it is taken will say much about the founders intent.



[1] This was the Mining Minerals and Sustainable Development Project whose report, Breaking New Ground, and further details of how the project was organised can be found on the IIED website at www.iied.org/mining-minerals-sustainable-development-mmsd

[2] The details of how the governance structure was established and worked can be found in the website cited in the above footnote.



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Discussing climate change on LBC Radio – 14/09/15









Last year was the hottest year on record, and this year is going to be hotter still. What the Met Office is saying is that next year will be even hotter again. People thought there had been a pause in global warming, and that confusion is because the way that increasing greenhouse gases change the temperature isn’t straight forward, it interacts with all kinds of other things like El Niño’s, and La Niña’s which are the opposite. That sometimes gives people the impression that the temperature hasn’t gone on rising, but actually it has gone on rising. The earth is getting increasingly warm and having increasing effects of our lives.

The thing about science being precise is that it can sometimes give a misleading impression. [The 0.68 degree rise in average temperature the Met Office describes]. That is the global average increase, but that actually means that in some places it’s gone up a lot more. Particularly in the Arctic, which is why President Obama was up in Alaska the other week, to point out just what the effects are there, and you’re seeing the temperature there going up at about three times the speed that it’s going up here.

Conferences on climate change are treated a bit like they are cup finals, and that’s really the wrong way to look at them. They are a very slow process of getting people to agree basically to co-ordinate their energy policies, and that’s going to be very difficult. I think what we are seeing is people, where they can, in their own lives, doing what they can. Doing a bit more themselves to make their energy more efficiently used, or to install solar panels. But at the end of the day governments have got to act on this problem, and they’ve not only got to act Nationally they’ve got to act Internationally and that’s a difficult thing to do.







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John Hutton is Chairman of the Nuclear Industries Association. On August 24th he told the Radio 4 Today audience that  “The nuclear programme is going to be built without any state funding at all”. Sitting next to him in the studio I nearly fell off my chair.

I am used to politicians being casual with the truth. Even so, this surprised me. Was Lord Hutton really telling an outrageous lie, had he made a slip of the tongue or was it possible that he really believed what he was saying?

He is an experienced man. As well as serving in Labour Cabinets, he was the MP for Sellafield and served on the board of an American nuclear company. He is clearly familiar with the economics of nuclear power. A slip of the tongue is unlikely.

Furthermore, his Association’s Chief Executive, Keith Parker took a similar view in a letter to the Independent the same week. He wrote “It [Hinkley Point] will be built without taxpayer funding”. It is clearly good for the Chairman and Chief Executive of any organisation to agree with each other.

It is, however, not so good for both of them to repeat the same falsehood. It is possible that they were both doing so deliberately. But the risk to their industry of its leading figures being caught telling a lie in public is significant. It is more likely that they really do believe what they are saying.

So how did they manage to delude themselves. The answer lies in their use of two words: ’state’ and ‘taxpayer’.

What exactly constitutes ‘state’ funding? If it means taking £16 billion out of the budget and buying Hinkley from EDF then Hutton’s statement is correct. This is not what the Government is proposing.

If however it means the state is giving EDF a guaranteed price for all of its electricity for 35 years, a guarantee on the loans to finance the construction of Hinkley as well as capping both its insurance and waste management liabilities then it is wrong. This is exactly what the Government is proposing.

You must decide for yourself whether Lord Hutton’s statement was self-deluding or deliberate.

The truthfulness of Keith Parker’s letter turns on exactly what you think is meant by a ‘taxpayer’. If you mean that Hinkley will not be funded by money raised from general taxation and paid out directly to EDF by the Treasury then the statement is correct. This is not what the Government is doing.

If, however, you mean that the funding for Hinkley will come from a levy on all electricity consumers that will finance the index linked guarantee of £92.50/MWh for 35 years then there is a little wiggle room. Not all electricity consumers pay income tax, though clearly the overwhelming majority do.

So, technically, only some taxpayers will be funding Hinkley by being forced to pay for it through their electricity bill. However, even that wiggle room is smaller than first appears. The Office of National Statistics ( ONS ) has ruled that levies such as this count as taxes for accounting purposes. In other words, even consumers who pay no income tax are, for this purpose, tax payers.

It is possible that Keith Parker really believes what he wrote. If so, he needs a conversation with the ONS who will explain to him why levies like this are taxes, and thus why levy payers are indeed taxpayers.

For my part it matters little whether these falsehoods are deliberate or delusional. They are part of a familiar pattern from the nuclear industry and its supporters as they try to justify the unjustifiable costs of their technology.

Remember the promises by the last Government that Hinkley would be built without ‘public subsidy’. Chris Huhne, when Energy Secretary, shamefully morphed that clear commitment into ‘no public subsidy not available to other technologies’. Amber Rudd has shredded that fig leaf with her wanton destruction of renewable subsidies.

The future of Hinkley now rests on whether or not it is being subsidised illegally by the British Government. When the European Commission ruled the funding for Hinkley was allowable under the state aids rules, the first point it made was that the Government’s proposals for funding Hinkley were unequivocally public subsidies. The Commission ruling permitting them is now being challenged in the European Court by the Austrian Government.

It is of course possible that neither Lord Hutton nor Keith Parker have read the Commission’s state aids decision. But, do you think that it is likely?



Tom Burke


September 8th 2015



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BBC Radio 4 Today Program – Nuclear, Hinkley Point and Renewables


today program logo









I am impressed by EDF’s ability to have a nuclear power station that is six years late before they have even started constructing it.

The head of EDF promised us, in one of the many announcements about this actually going ahead, that we would be cooking our Christmas turkeys with electricity from Hinkley by 2017. Well they are unlikely to actually start construction before 2018, supposing they actually make the decision to go ahead.

There are a huge variety of things that can replace the supply from nuclear, we have a lot of wind and a lot of solar. We are already meeting more of our current electricity demand from renewables than we are from nuclear. The percentage of our energy needs that renewables can meet could go up to 45%, add in efficiency and the percentage gets bigger.

Offshore electricity costs are coming down to about the cost of nuclear, the costs are coming down now, and they will continue going down. Nuclear costs typically go up by 7% per year, everywhere all the time, and that’s because of constraints in the supply chain, and because of the difficulty of the engineering and so on.

Even David Howell who was the minister who introduced the big nuclear program in Margaret Thatcher’s government has started to express doubts about whether going ahead with Hinkley makes any sort of economic sense. It is rather odd to think that someone knows what the wholesale price of electricity is going to be in 2065, when we don’t really know what it is going to be next year.








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