For some while now I have been hoping that a solution to our crazy energy politics will be forthcoming from a blinding application of reductio ad absurdum. Before, that is, the lights actually go out, which would be a reductio all right, though anything but blinding.
Logically speaking the absurdum should have been evident for some while, by attending to the 'run-rate' of investment required to achieve the demented 'green' plans we are 'legally' committed to. (Mercifully this commitment relates only to UK law, and we are still a sovereign nation ... I think.) When I first started banging on about this (5 years ago) the run-rate was as follows: we needed to invest in new electricity infra- structure with sustained annual expenditures around 50% higher than we had ever managed before. When I last did the sums, about a year ago, the run-rate was that we needed to be spending at double the historical highest (every year for a long time ahead).
Now just as with limited-overs cricket, you can always do the arithmetic and derive a run-rate. But when you need to score a boundary off every ball, you know the game is up. And when not even sixes will do the trick and you need to contemplate overthrows on every ball ...
We are, by any reckoning, nearly there - with or without the Green Investment Bank and its puny £3 billion to spend.
The symptoms are all around. Germany is going to scrap all its existing nukes ahead of their time (and Alex Salmond has completely flipped). France has banned drilling for shale gas. The NIMBY anti-onshore-wind movement is really getting up a head of steam, particularly in Wales. Last year, global emissions rose to record levels as inefficient developing-world manufacturing displaces efficient western output. Try today's Grauniad for a measure of green angst (this Monbiot article and the hundreds of comments), and a characteristically lurid Rowson cartoon.
Yes, Honest George Monbiot says it well.
"We don't like nuclear power. We don't like onshore wind. We won't like the costs of the other technologies. We reject all the means by which electricity is generated. Yet no one is volunteering to stop using it."
When Crapper Huhne finally gets the boot, could this not be the moment finally to confront reality ?