James Delingpole, the infamous ‘interpreter of interpretations’ recently posted on his Telegraph blog an article on the latest report by the Cambridge Econometrics think tank for the WWF and Greenpeace, which stated that the UK economy would be £20bn better off if it decided to focus more heavily on offshore wind than gas in the coming decades.
It was a report which garnered widespread praise and support from many in the energy field, and detailed effectively how going down George Osborne’s ‘dash for gas’ path would inevitably lose us money in the long run, something many no doubt already had guessed.
However, Delingpole clearly seems to take an almost unbelievably sensational offense to this piece of science, and proceeds to write one of the most overblown and frankly prejudiced pieces of work I’ve come to read in a very long time, and on an influential media site such as the Telegraph to boot. This is my rebuttal to just some of his lamentable points made, many of which come straight out of a similarly acerbic blog from the ‘Eureferendum’ blog which shares his views.
The article instantly starts out by attacking personally and completely irrelevantly the status of the Cambridge Econometrics group and their head, Dr Terry Barker, as follows;
Turning to the source of this wisdom, we find the “think tank” originator named as “Cambridge Econometrics”, but to call it a think tank is something of a misnomer. The company actually describes itself as “an independent consultancy”, its business being the application of economic modelling and data analysis techniques to the needs of clients in business and government.
As to its “independence”, the company is a trading subsidiary of a charity, theCambridge Trust for New Thinking in Economics, which receives income from the company to pursue its registered objects.
What is interesting here is that Cambridge Econometrics seems to be a very profitable company, which, according to theaccounts submitted to the Charity Commission, turns over a cool £2-million-plus each year and giving its effective owner, Dr Terry Barker, a very comfortable living, plus pension. And Dr Barker has a certain amount of baggage. Hiscv says he is:
… the Chairman of Cambridge Econometrics, having founded the company in 1985. He is also Senior Departmental Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research (4CMR), Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Economic Systems Research, the International Journal of Climate Strategies and Management, the International Journal of Global Warming, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the World Wide Views on Global Warming. He was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Climate Change Congress, Copenhagen, March 2009, and was on the Writing Team of the Synthesis Report of the Congress.This is a warmist personified, which might suggest a certain bias in his approach to the subject of windfarms. And, if that isn’t enough to set an odiferous rat running, we find that the report itself is produced forGreenpeace and WWF-UK, which funded the work.