Mark Andrews on Saturday: Power struggle could be taste of things to come

"Ten days to fix CO2 crisis", said one of the more sensationalist tabloid headlines this week.

Rugeley power station has gone, but not been replaced
Rugeley power station has gone, but not been replaced

Now remind me. Is that reducing CO2 or producing it?

Of course, the CO2 crisis was fixed almost as soon as it began, which suggests it was one of those manufactured crises deliberately hyped up to make it look like the Government was doing something. And, of course, providing a convenient distraction from the real problem, which is the energy shortage.

While there may not be many tears shed for the energy providers, they have been put between a rock and a hard place by Government double standards. On the one hand the Government introduced a price cap to keep energy prices down, then on the other it introduced a raft of 'green taxes' to make it more expensive. What do politicians want – cheap energy to win favour with the Red Wall, or high gas prices to pacify the green lobby?

The other part of the energy crisis which none of the politicians want to talk about is the consequences of the cliff-edge phasing out of coal-fired power stations over the past few years.

In 2012, 40 per cent of Britain's energy supply came from coal, with power stations such as Rugeley and Ironbridge making a crucial contribution to our energy needs. Last year, it was just 1.8 per cent, the old power stations have been reduced to rubble, and precious little has been built by way of replacement. Is it really any great surprise that we have an energy shortage?

If that is the real reason, then what we are seeing at the moment is only an appetiser of what we can expect to see over the next next decade, as the governments of the world start to implement their pledges on 'net zero' carbon emissions.

Now there may well be an argument that this is necessary to avoid global disaster, and I suspect those of an Extinction Rebellion persuasion are positively salivating at the prospect of a more austere, less materialistic world.

But the political leaders and activists should at least be honest with us. Net zero is going to make us all poorer, colder, and our lives bleaker.

In her new series about the Cotswolds, Pam Ayres commented on the delightful smell of the hops during a tour of Hook Norton brewery.

I made a similar observation during a visit to Banks's brewery in Wolverhampton. The head brewer responded by informing me the delightful, fruity aroma was not the hops, but detergent used to clean the equipment.

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