In an age of high energy costs and constricted supply, inflation and unemployment rose together. Forced to choose, governments and central banks decided to prioritise controlling inflation. Western governments made it harder for trade unions to strike, curtailing the ability of workers to demand higher wages. The US Federal Reserve then administered a severe monetary shock to the world economy. In driving interest rates up to exceptionally high levels, Paul Volcker, the chair of the Federal Reserve, accelerated the de-industrialisation of most Western economies.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a special report last week, setting out its proposals for achieving ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions. One of its headline demands is that gas-fired domestic boilers should no longer be sold after 2025. This echoes one of the main policies in the UK government’s Net Zero plan. This is no coincidence. National governments, including the UK, draw all of their climate policies from faceless global agencies like the IEA (as well as domestic quangos like the Climate Change Committee). This process leaves out one important constituency: the public.