The British Met Office issued its first "red weather warning" for 2021.
Storm Arwen a week ago brought rain, blizzards and the first snowfalls this winter, nicely timed for Britain's "Fuel Poverty Day" last Friday.
Britain is a First World country, where people die in their homes from the cold.
British charity NEA (National Energy Action) says Fuel Poverty Day reminds Britons that, "In any normal winter millions of people struggle to stay warm at home."
Britain's Office for National Statistics (ONS) under the "Excess Winter Deaths" heading reveals that England and Wales had 28,300 more deaths last winter and warns that "...8500 deaths (were) due to cold homes - almost 20 per cent higher than the previous winter."
These are November 2020 statistics, corrected to exclude COVID deaths.
Adam Scorer, Chief Executive, NEA, comments, "... 8500 lives were lost because of cold homes. Low incomes, high energy costs and poor heating and insulation all combined to leave them in conditions which were unfit to help them survive the cold weather."
NEA says there are "over four million fuel-poor households in the UK." The ONS Excess Winter Mortality page begins with: "More people die in the winter than the summer." Cold kills people, something that appears to be lost on activists worried about "warming".
Since November last year, British electricity prices have skyrocketed because wind has failed to produce enough power, blamed on a "wind drought" affecting Britain, and EU countries too. Gas shortages have led to gas price rises.
Yes, the UK has subsidies just like we have pensioner subsidies in Australia, but when governments race unprepared into new policy areas like Climate Change, there are casualties.
More people die in the winter than the summer. Cold kills people …
Britain's new nuclear power stations won't be online until at least 2025.
Coal-fired power stations were prematurely closed.
In Australia, we need to have a sober conversation about baseload power. Britain can import nuclear-generated power via cable from France, at a price.
Australia already has quality baseload back-up - coal and gas. Renewables alone are not the answer. Nor are batteries.
It has been calculated that if we built more than 200 South Australian-style "world's biggest batteries" at a cost of about $19billion we could store enough electricity to power the National Grid for about one hour!
Think what $19billion could buy!
We could reduce emissions simply by building High Energy Low Emissions coal-fired power stations as they have done in places like Japan.
Australians should not be bluffed away from cheap coal-fired electricity by nations that have run out of coal - like Britain.
Nor should we fail to notice that Germany will not transition from coal until around 2038.
We could look to gas as a "transition" from coal, but without the European Union-style hypocrisy. During COP26, it was revealed that the EU in Brussels is considering classifying gas as a "renewable transition fuel", claiming no accountable emissions. The EU already burns woodchips as "green energy"!
Europe will not compromise its competitive advantages. It will not lose jobs or industry on the altar of climate change.
Meanwhile, in Australia, gas shortages due to restrictions on exploration and development will cost Australian jobs. Orica is building import infrastructure at Kooragang Island, citing high gas costs affecting its Australian manufacturing operations.
Gas makes up more than half the costs of running fertiliser company Incitec Pivot. Incitec plans to close its Gibson Island operation costing 150 jobs. Importing our fertiliser does not stop world emissions - it simply sends Australian jobs overseas.
Australian governments need to put Australians first with local jobs, and cheap power for homes before we descend into cost-of-living poverty as is happening in Britain.
I drew attention to our family's horrendous electricity bill in a previous column.
I have talked with enough people to realise that winter house-warming is not just a British problem, an old person's problem, or just the "poor" - families with kids at home this COVID winter really suffered an Australian version of "fuel poverty".
Just a week ago, we were warned to expect a "short-term hit" to residential bills when Liddell closes.
What was the British lesson? Save the world but can't save themselves?
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