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Is there anything new to be said about climate change? Yes, and in Let Them Eat Carbon (Biteback Publishing, £9.99) Matthew Sinclair has said it. It is a fascinating, perhaps even important, book. Who should read it? Oh, anyone who drives a car, flies by aeroplane, uses gas or electricity at home, has a job or a pension, or does not grow his own food. That might, just, exclude Orwell's old maid off to Holy Communion — but she is probably cycling through the morning mist to hear a sermon in favour of an eco-charity. She ought to read this book first.

This is not a book about global warming. That is what makes it so valuable. Ignore all the usual controversies, says Sinclair. Instead, treat climate change policy like any other and ask a basic question somehow overlooked in all the shouting: does it actually work?

The answer is no. Cap-and-trade emission control generates windfall profits for energy companies while making their prices more volatile; renewable energy plans are a colossal waste of capital which make power sources less secure; green taxes on transport are a government shakedown scheme which arguably overcharge for the impact of climate change (nobody can really be sure); biofuels inflate food costs; and the only green jobs that will be created are for bureaucrats, lobbyists and workers in the developing world where factories will be relocated.

Above all, claims Sinclair, the policies we currently follow will not actually reduce emissions and avert climate change — unless they cause a profound and prolonged economic depression in the developed world. Cure may well turn out to be worse than disease. It is time for a rethink.

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David Thornton
September 29th, 2011
2:09 PM
Global warming, man-made or not, is certainly controversial. Whatever the excesses of the eco-lobby the vast majority of scientists are convinced that it is happening, and that mankind is responsible for much of it. The consequences could be castrophic. What we should, or can do, about it is another matter. See www.skepticalscience.com

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