These protests reported in The Times today are absolutely contemptible. They are inspired by a profound ignorance of how Britains energy sector works and, in particular of the timescales involved for change. It is hard to see them as anything other than virtue signalling by fools.
The world is dependent on hydrocarbons for much of the fuel and power we need – and that fuel and power is the driver of our economies and our lifestyle. In Britain the mix is changing, particularly in power generation where wind power is making an impact and a growing one. But other important parts of our hydrocarbon use mix will take much longer to change and some cannot change at all within known technologies.
Road transport will stay dominated by petrol and diesel for the foreseeable future. The switch to electric power for private vehicles is underway but the cost and practicality is a block on progress. And there are very few commercial vehicles using anything but diesel fuel.
Our homes, our offices, our hospitals and the rest are overwhelmingly heated by gas and again whilst there will be a small number of new builds with alternatives like heat pumps removing and replacing gas boilers across our total housing stock is a very long term project, if it is a project at all.
Key transport sectors like aviation and marine are oil specific and will remain substantially so for decades ahead.
The protests oversimplify a complex subject and are exercises in little more than reductio ad absurdum. They are also arrogant the participants implying that only they have the wisdom to see the need for change. Our energy use is declining per unit of useful power as across all sectors more efficient machines takeover. Home insulation and far more efficient vehicle engines and gas boilers have had a major impact. That progress needs to be encouraged. The protests do the reverse of this.