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how to make a politician happy: give him a bright idea

Below is the text of an email I sent to my Member of Parliament today, who also happens to be a Minister of State in the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the present UK coalition government:

Dear Gregory Barker,

Given the importance of your job in helping the UK to meet its statutory target under the Climate Change Act to reduce its emissions by 80% by 2050,I am particularly keen to ascertain your view as to how this target – ambitious,and rightly so – can be met. I am hoping that you perceive the idea of TEQs (Tradable Energy Quotas), as outlined in the report recently issued by the All Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas, as being an invaluable contribution towards ensuring that the UK’s emissions targets are met. I feel sure that you already know about TEQs but just in case you don’t, there is an excellent summary available at: http://teqs.net/report/summary/

Given that peak oil is already making the price of petrol and diesel, and domestic heating oil increasingly more expensive – and rapidly too expensive for many, especially the poor and small businesses – then a scheme like TEQs is an obviously fair, equitable, and manageable way of moving towards a low-carbon future whilst allowing a free market in energy quotas to emerge which will help people to use their own initiative in adjusting their own energy consumption patterns in the way that best suits their own situations. And, along the way, TEQs will help stimulate the green energy businesses and jobs that would maintain the UK economic recovery. Also, TEQs would ensure that everybody sees that we are indeed all in it together and that we all need to play our part in reducing fossil fuel energy use.

With that in mind, I urge you to support the call for a full feasibility study into TEQs to be urgently undertaken by the government. The previous government’s decision to delay such a study has been criticised by the Environment Audit Committee, The Institute for Public Policy Research, the Centre for Sustainable Energy and the Lean Economy Connection.

Furthermore, if the peak oil crisis worsens considerably over the next year or so, as I believe it will, leading to another crucifyingly high oil price spike, this will guarantee that the UK economy will tip into a severe recession. At that point, you will need to move quickly to a scheme like TEQs, otherwise you may have massive ‘fuel protests’ like the one in 2000, and you may be forced to do things which impact severely on government tax revenue, such as reduce the fuel duty, just to stave off the protests. A TEQs scheme will have to be fully worked out and ready to go at government level so that you can bring it in quickly; hence the need for that full feasibility study to be done now.

I don’t want the fuel protests to happen, and I don’t want oil prices to rise, but peak oil is here and hurting now. Why not turn peak oil to advantage and use its inevitability, and the fact that no government can prevent it, to underscore a publicity campaign by the UK government for a scheme like TEQs in order to transition quickly to the low-carbon economy that is the only way to maintain a sustainable standard of living for us all? Oh, and we save the planet from runaway climate change in the process too. A win-win situation!

The full report on TEQs is available at:

I urge you to promote this report amongst your colleagues in government, as it is the fairest method I have yet come across that not only helps ensure the UK can cope with the twin threats of peak oil and climate change, but also ensure that the low-carbon UK economy of the future is a prosperous and stable one. Thank you for your consideration of this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Durling

  1. Jon BASHER
    January 31, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    you do realise that dear ol Gregory is Bexhills MP

    • andydharma
      January 31, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      yes, but by some strange quirk, the village of Westham is within the constituency boundary of Bexhill & Battle. Bizarre, but true!

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