If a windmill is about to blight your cherished view of the green English countryside, you might start to wonder why on earth the Department for Energy and Climate Change thinks it is a good idea to subsidise the monsters at vast cost to the British taxpayer. Why not retune some boilers in Guangdong instead? Or encourage the booming cities of China to power themselves with gas, not coal? There’s a whole raft of practical, carbon-saving steps which can be more cheaply achieved in the growing, bustling emerging world. After all, a ton of carbon saved in China is as good in global terms as a ton saved in the UK. So why ever spoil our green and pleasant land?
Hang on, though. Wasn’t the “green new deal” all about creating jobs in a new sort of economy? Making Britain a leader in an industry of the future? Not to mention making us just a little less dependent for our energy on geopolitically unstable regions of the world. Make China the focus of all our policy effort, and it will be China that reaps the knock-on benefits. Why would we realistically agree to that?