#Energygate: What we found and why it matters

Posted by petespeller — 14 November 2012 at 3:44pm - Comments

Today we’ve exposed explosive evidence of the lengths to which some Conservative Party MPs will go to sabotage progress on climate change. We’ve uncovered a plot to dismantle the Climate Change Act and one Tory MP involved in trying to manipulate a by-election to push his own anti-wind agenda.

So what exactly is going on?

Well. Like any good political scandal, it’s complex, convoluted and involves people at the highest levels of government. There’s two elements to the story. The first involves the Corby by-election, the second focuses on an attack by senior Conservative Party members on climate progress.

But let’s start at the beginning. #Corbyshambles.

Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris is the campaign manager for the Conservative Party in the upcoming Corby by-election. However, as the ringleader of the anti-wind movement Heaton-Harris has clearly felt for a long time that the Tories aren’t strong enough in their opposition to wind farms. He was the instigator of a letter signed by over a hundred MPs, most of them Conservatives, calling on government to cut subsidies for renewable energy, particularly wind.

Heaton-Harris is exposed in our film as wanting to write opposition to wind “into the DNA of the Tory Party” - going against the promises of his leader David Cameron, the Coalition Agreement and the opinions of the British public - 64% of whom want more renewable energy.

Heaton-Harris’ plan involved using the Corby by-election to put wind on the agenda. He arranged for outspoken climate change denier James Delingpole to stand as an independent candidate on an anti-wind platform. He even provided his Deputy Chairman Trevor Sherman to act as Delingpole’s election agent saying Sherman “resigned” from his role in the Conservative Party to help Delingpole.

On 31 October Energy Minister John Hayes made the announcement that “enough is enough” on wind farm construction in the UK. Hours later Delingpole announced that he would stand down from the Corby by-election citing Hayes’ announcement as a victory for his campaign.

Later that day Chris Heaton-Harris is recorded speaking to our undercover investigator saying “nothing in politics, even if it happens by accident, nothing happens by accident”.

Still with me? Great, ‘cos that’s just the start. On to #Energygate...

Our investigators also spoke to a number of influential Conservatives suspected of involvement in undermining progress on climate change.

We discovered evidence pointing to Chancellor George Osborne positioning senior Tories in government, like pieces on a chessboard.

‘Global luke-warmist’ Peter Lilley MP, recently appointed to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, was quoted as saying “Osborne wanted to get people into key positions who could begin to get the government off the hook from the commitments it made very foolishly”. He is referring to the appointments of outspoken opponent of wind power Energy Minister John Hayes and climate sceptic Environment Secretary Owen Paterson.

But if Hayes and Paterson are so opposed to wind power, why put them in positions with so much influence over the government's environmental and clean energy policies? It’s like appointing an atheist as Archbishop of Canterbury.

Peter Lilley went on “...We could well see certainly amendments to the Climate Change Act, cease to make it legally binding, make it advisory”.

The Climate Change Act contains perhaps our most important environmental laws. It sets legally-binding targets for cutting the UK’s carbon emissions. Osborne’s plans to undermine it are serious. Without it being legally-binding, the government can effectively ignore it.

So why do they need to undermine the Climate Change Act?

Well, over the next few years we need to replace the UK’s ageing power stations and the upcoming Energy Bill will effectively decide how we do this. Osborne and the gas lobby are trying hard to keep targets for reducing carbon emissions from electricity generation out of the Bill, allowing gas companies to build dozens of new gas power stations.

With more of our gas being imported from places like Qatar our ability to generate energy - and the cost of household energy bills - becomes unstable and volatile. As Conservative peer, and Osborne’s father-in-law, Lord Howell puts it in our film “if [Qatar] went into chaos, we’d be up shit creek, we really would”.

However, there’s a spanner in the works. The Committee on Climate Change, the government’s advisors, stated recently that Osborne’s dash for gas could be illegal under the Climate Change Act. So step number one for Osborne is stripping the Act of its power.

When the Act was introduced in 2008 David Cameron whipped his party to vote for it, only 5 Tories rebelled and voted against it, including Peter Lilley. Now even his closest allies seem to be plotting to undermine his promises on climate change.

David Cameron needs to take control of his party and remember the green promises he made to voters two years ago. He campaigned for the Climate Change Act, now he needs to defend it.

Great work, nicely illustrated. Kudos. Now lets see if Cameron has anything to say to reassure clean energy investors who are now thinking of taking their valuable business to other European countries that aren't scuppered by political infighting...

At last we have scintillas of sanity in our government over energy. The Climate Act was passed in a snowstorm one late October day in 2008. Most MPs were like lemmings and went over the cliff, around four kept their heads and voted against.

It's a dead dog that floats with the stream, it's a live one that swims against it.

The above investigation is hardly news.

We need to go hard for shale, revamp our coal-fired power stations and, if we can get a good deal, go with Hitachi nuclear. The key is to get cheap energy, both electricity and gas. High energy costs and petrol taxes are strangling any recovery.

You call this sabotaging progress. The rest of us call it Common Sense at last. This Nation cannot afford the luxury of polital correctness brigades like Greenpeace and Stop Climate Coalition & etc.


Windfarms are toxic Can anyone explain to me why windfarms are described as green energy??they run on so little wind what do people think runs them 80% of the time

Does anyone research these things or just live in  green dream denial

Come on greenpeace dont lose your cred' tell the truth!



The EU are doing the same as the Uk and Denmark are dumping windfarms

The US has abandoned farms everywhere not working, just killing birds and rusting

TELL THE TRUTH! Research your subject

Its the biggest scam of the century! The climate chnages all the time 

Green gets royal status over reality!

Well done for exposing the greed underlying the Tory party.

Society is like a stew. If you don't stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top (Edward Abbey).

Last year windfarms produced 4.6% of UK electricity (Digest of UK Energy), simply not liking the appearance of them doesn't make them toxic and no Denmark isn't dumping wind farms, they've recently increased their ambitions (do your research 50 shades of green).

So, in other words, what Greenpeace has exposed is... "party politics"! Wow!  We have a clear choice, either keep the Climate Change Act and continue seeing people down in fuel poverty and businesses struggling to survice with incresed energy costs (which ripple down the chain into every corner of the economy), or we kick it into touch and remove that ridiculous burden.

This is the other stark choice: we either care for people, or we don't. Notice I didn't put the choice as people and planet ("gaia", urgh - horrible word!), as the two are not mutually exclusive. Fundamentally, the greens do *not* care for people. They would see them suffer and be purged from Earth to 'save' their precious beliefs.

Caring for people means lifting their burden, providing for their welfare and comfort, and no, man's emissions of CO2 does not drive global temperature - there is no empirical evidence that it does, only failed computer models predict that, so saying man's burning of fossil fuels will harm people is totally false, A LIE.

A serious question to Greenpeace - what is the legal situation regarding Heaton Harris' actions? 2 candidates in a parliamentary election conspiring with each other in secret - is this electoral fraud? If so, can anyone make a complaint to the police?

By the way, it seems like the deniers are out in force today. Central office must have been busy!

The climate change act reflects both science and cross party consensus. Abandoning it due to internal Tory party intrigues, led by a ill informed minority is insane. The comments above are not the work of climate sceptics, or even climate deniers but physics deniers.

The world is warming, that warming is the result of manmade greenhouse gas emissions, if we don't reduce our emissions then a whole host of serious problems will kick in (extreme weather and rising sea levels being just 2 of them), and onshore windfarms are a cheap, low carbon way of generating electricity.

Cameron should remember his pre-election promises and slap these reactionary Tory rebels down.

It does not suprise me, polititians are not to be trusted, but it is good to see evidence of their greed.

Well done Greenpeace to bring climate change back into headlines, if we don't tackle it NOW it will be too late.

Some of the usual 'denialist' comments here.

Anthropogenic climate change is a proven fact. Get over it. Sometimes gravity gets in my way, but I'm kinda stuck with it.

Facts are facts. Nobody owns them. They are neither good or bad. They are just facts.

People who are 'active denialists' like James Delingpole (for e.g.) are following an agenda that is in clear contradiction of the facts (some facts) and so no amount of argument will change their minds.

For those of you who are reasonable and like to engage in the process of reason, have a look at this: http://www.skepticalscience.com/

We can only dig our way out of where we are through reason...and then action.

I'm quite happy for people to follow 'non-green' ideas, in fact I find it quite interesting, but as soon as they start saying things that I know and they know are factually incorrect, I switch off.

Take wind power - anti-windies know they can't win on the facts. That's why they make up so much stuff.

Same old, same old climate change skeptic drivel. We’ll all
be under water, starving from global famine and drought and they’ll still be

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but last time I checked we shared
this planet. We’re part of it. We have a duty to protect it.  Although I do wonder about this sometimes,
seeing as a vast amount of corporations and governments seem hell bent on
destroying it, or sabotaging any ‘acts’ in place to tackle the dangers caused
by climate change.

Anthropogenic climate change is something that affects us
all (even dirty Tories) and it’s a very real threat that have to deal with. We have an incredible amount of renewable
energy sources to supply our needs. We only have to have the determination to
make use of them. Yes, this includes wind.

Why are the Tories so anti-wind?  Surely it forms a logical component of the energy mix needed going forward!

Incredible work! Greenpeace are out earning their money again I see!


Such underhand behaviour! Good work from Greenpeace exposing this.

If the Tories feel so strongly against windfarms, they should say so upfront, and let the voters decide whether we want our government to promote a sensible transition to altrenative energy, or do we want them to lead us towards a future of constant rise in energy bills and global temperatures...

How can Greenpeace justify both having a campaign to save forests and supporting windfarms.   In both Wales and Scotland much of the push by local politicians is to build windfarms in the forests.   Souldn't you be exposing how greedy politicians in the Welsh and Scotish Governments have sold the right to apply for planning permission to replace publicily owned forests which are tourist attractions and absorb carbon with windfarms,   rather than campaigning against MP's who are representing the views of their constituants who are threated with wind farms.

to reply to J-Gwen, the Welsh forests being affected by wind farm applications, such as Brechfa, are modern plantations, mostly sitka spruce or Japanese larch, these are a fast growing crop which are harvested every 30-45 years. I don't know of any old growth broadleaf woodlands that have been cleared for a wind farm, nor would they be because the mitigation measures that would have to be applied are prohibitive.

True these plantations are enjoyed by tourists and absorb carbon, but it's highly unlikely that tourists would be deterred from visiting a large forest if there were some turbines sited in the middle of it and the carbon absorbed by the area of trees felled early (or in some cases at their harvesting time), is tiny compared to the savings made by the turbines.

Opponents to windfarms often say that the carbon savings made by them are negligable but research has shown a direct correlation between windy days and reduced emissions by fossil fueled power plants. One study estimated a saving of over 5 million tonnes of CO2 in the UK last year.

The importance of the Climate Change Act cannot be underestimated.  Only by enforcing crippingly high energy costs can the final objective be realised; the de-industrialization of our society and a reduction in human population to a sustainable level.  I know that many will die as a result of fuel poverty and the scaling back of modern infrastructure but ultimately this will be a price worth paying.

climate change? What climate change! Is this fact or obsession?

Windfarms run on fossil fuels you poor misinformed creatures

Go ahead with you idelogy... bankrupt the world!

Good to see from the Evening Standard (Tuesday 20th Nov) that some 200 fund management groups managing around £ 6.9 trillion have written to George Osborne asking him to cut the UK's reliance on gas as its major energy source and address the dangers of climate change. They wrote to the Chancellor ahead of international climate negotiations next week in Doha.

So who are these people then? Another bunch of badly informed sandal wearing tree huggers? Or well educated men and women trusted by pension funds to look after their (our) money, who have taken the trouble to examine the science and the costs of doing nothing as spelt out by the Stern Report (remember that?).

ClimateChallenger wants us to go for cheap energy. There is no such thing. Cost savings now will be dwarfed by the bills we'll pick up down the line.

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