Beware George Osborne, we ‘environmental Taliban’ are on the march

Make no mistake: the coalition in favour of sustainable
energy is broadening all the time and the Chancellor looks increasingly alone

Share
Related Topics

It says something about politics that a single gaffe tells you more about a high-profile figure than a hundred well-crafted ministerial speeches. So it was with Andrew Mitchell’s supposed “plebs” outburst, and so it is now with the revelation that George Osborne refers dismissively in private to something called the “environmental Taliban”. That Osborne sees people who work to promote sustainable energy as irrational extremists shows how the Chancellor has become both out of touch with the modern world and increasingly isolated even within the Government itself.

The Taliban reference smears all of us who care about the future. It is also the opposite of reality. It is not those working to avert dangerous climate change who are the faith-based ideologues, but those who deny the overwhelming scientific evidence on global warming, who use smears and dishonest rhetoric in their desperate battle to defend fossil fuels and stymie the progress that this country is finally making towards cleaning up its energy supply.

Maybe the Taliban smear is a joke. But misplaced attempts at humour can reveal a lot about a person’s prejudices – and with Osborne the picture does not look good. Here is a man whose gut feelings are reactionary: he opposes change and refuses to see opportunities – even economic opportunities, as the green sector is one of the few currently in growth – as he panders to vested interests who simply want to carry on only with business as usual.

Make no mistake: the Taliban coalition in favour of sustainable energy is broadening all the time.

So who are Osborne’s “environmental Taliban”? These days, it is more than just Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace activists who will feel offended. So will the entire renewables industry, which has notched up a significant success as Britain becomes the leading nation worldwide in offshore wind-installed capacity (albeit with turbines manufactured abroad). So also will the Nuclear Industry Association, which depends for the future of its members on the aggressive government decarbonisation programme for which Osborne now seems to be the main opponent.

Make no mistake: the Taliban coalition in favour of sustainable energy is broadening all the time. Under the guise of the CBI, whose director, John Cridland, is a strong backer of the greening agenda, it now includes probably the majority of British business. And it also includes much of the Government, not least the entire Department for Energy and Climate Change.

Osborne should watch out – the environmental Taliban are everywhere. We have the Chancellor surrounded and firmly on the defensive.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone