James Delingpole

The Bank of England is enslaved by groupthink

1 July 2017

9:00 AM

1 July 2017

9:00 AM

I do find it odd that I’m so often having to write about the science of global warming, species extinction and ocean acidification because, though I’ve certainly acquired a pretty useful base knowledge over the years — superior, I’m guessing, to 97 per cent of scientists — it’s really not my main interest. What fascinates me far more is the way the faddish preoccupations of a few green cultists have somehow come to dominate our entire culture, corrupting the intellectual current, suborning institutions, crushing dissent — much as Marxist, fascist and Nazi ideologies did in the 20th century, only with rather more widespread success.

Let me give you a recent example of this: an article from the June Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England, titled ‘The Bank’s response to climate change’. Nothing wrong with the premise: it is indeed part of the Bank’s statutory duty to ‘identify, monitor and take action to remove or reduce risks that threaten the resilience of the UK financial system’. The problem, argues energy editor John Constable in a critique for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, is the inexcusably one-sided way in which the bank has handled it. The report’s focus is directed almost entirely towards the risks posed by fossil fuels. So we learn lots about the droughts, floods and storms that may be caused by ‘man-made climate change’. And also — a popular campaign theme with the Guardian and Greenpeace, this one — that the world’s remaining fossil fuel reserves (coal, oil, gas, etc) may have to be left in the ground as ‘stranded assets’, unusable because of the damage that burning them will supposedly do to the planet.

But we don’t hear about the more plausible and immediate economic risks posed by renewables. The most obvious one is what will happen if taxpayers around the world tire of being milked to subsidise bird-frazzling solar arrays, bat-chomping eco-crucifixes, river-polluting anaerobic digesters, electric cars whose batteries alone create more CO2 during manufacture than a petrol car does in eight years, and suchlike, and the Potemkin industry that is renewables comes crashing to a sudden halt? It’s not as if clever people haven’t considered this possibility. Warren Buffett once frankly admitted that the only reason for building wind farms was for the ‘tax credits’ And though it’s true that most western economies from the EU to Australia and Canada are now run by administrations broadly in favour of such green crony capitalism, the gravy train may not trundle on for ever. Look at what is now happening in the US under their new president.

I really don’t expect people who write reports for the Quarterly Bulletin of the Bank of England to share my politics. What I do expect is that people in such important positions should do their actual job. If this report was on, say, the insights of Stormzy, the comparative merits of Stilton and Roquefort, or whether the jam or the clotted cream should go first on a scone, it would, of course, be deeply annoying if they got it wrong. But it would not, I submit, be as socially, economically and politically damaging as one which will influence central bank policy in the world’s fifth largest economy.

Consider the repercussions when the Bank of England fails, as here, to do its due diligence: pension funds misallocate their investments; governments and green campaigners alike weave ‘experts at the Bank of England’ into their propaganda and policy justifications; public debate is distracted from serious issues by chimeras; businesses either misdirect their investments or simply give up the fight and jump on the band-wagon; financial journalists who should know better become unthinking mouthpieces for the climate industrial complex; City departments, from human resources to compliance and marketing, devise new ways to entrench environmental correctness into their philosophy; law firms wonder if there’s any money to be made suing firms that haven’t factored in the relevant risks.

When the Bank of England sneezes, in other words, the whole world catches a cold. (In the private sector there are heavy penalties for producing such false prospectuses. You wonder why similar rules don’t apply to our public institutions.) And the only reason we don’t get more angry about it is that most of the time we don’t know it’s going on.

I’m racking my brain to think which newspaper in these dumbed-down, brainwashed times would take a piece critiquing a Bank of England report on climate change resilience. None, obviously, because it’s too esoteric and anyway, the media doesn’t like to rock the boat — either because it subscribes to the official narrative or because it’s sick of fending off vexatious Ipso complaints from green ideologues and climate industry stooges. So the result is that false information on climate change — it would be branded ‘fake news’ if it came from the right — is freely disseminated, is largely unchallenged, and becomes widely accepted fact.

Think of this, next time you chat about climate change to someone who must know what they’re talking about because they’re a high powered financier/a City lawyer/a senior oil industry executive/an actual scientist/a university professor. Likely their opinions will not be borne of personal investigation, but rather will come from simply having taken on trust an official narrative which it would be more than their job’s worth to challenge even if they felt the urge.

This is the nature of groupthink and there’s hardly an institution in the western world which isn’t a prisoner of it. Such a pity that those few of us holding the keys to the cell doors are treated like pariahs.

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