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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The final instalment of our WW1 series

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Simon Usborne: The more you watch pro cycling, the more you understand its social complexity

Simon Usborne
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice