DOGGER Bank used to be a land bridge to Europe before it was flooded by climate change around 6000 years ago. So it is fitting that “Doggerland”, now located beneath the North Sea, is in the forefront of the battle against modern climate change.

Over the next three years it will be studded with 200 of the largest wind turbines ever built, 850 feet high – higher than Edinburgh's Arthur's Seat, almost the height of the Eiffel Tower.

Built by SSE (formerly Scottish and Southern Energy) and Equinor (formerly Norwegian Statoil), the sheer scale of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm is hard to grasp. When completed, this single farm will generate enough electricity for a country significantly larger than Scotland. And it is one of many similar projects in the pipeline.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) now believes that offshore wind alone will more than meet total global electricity demand as the world goes carbon free.

This is good news, in the week of the IPCC's Code Red report, but you could be forgiven for having heard little if anything about Dogger Bank or the IEA's forecast. All I have heard is the wailing of climate catastrophism. The press has been filled with apocalyptic visions straight out of the Book of Revelation – a world destroyed by fire and flood. People see these hell-fire headlines every summer and promptly forget about them.

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This is hardly surprising. The current debate on climate remains dogged by a kind of environmental cretinism. We are told by Prophets of Green that we have to reverse economic growth, grow vegetables, lock ourselves in our homes and await doom, which is our punishment for the sin of population growth.

There is an obsession with aviation, which accounts for only 3% of global emissions. Then there is the Scottish Green's mantra of “keeping it in the ground”, as if we can somehow bury the whole problem of supply. Energy is what keeps us alive and it has to come from somewhere. Nicola Sturgeon is right to say that fossil fuels will be needed during the transition from the carbon economy.

But this transition is now emphatically doable. Only ten years ago, Dogger would have been pure science fiction. Sensible people thought that wind could make a modest contribution to climate change, and only if it was heavily subsidised. What no one expected was that offshore wind would take off, if you will excuse the pun, and become so cheap and efficient that within a decade renewable energy has made almost all other sources of energy uneconomic.

This shows what can be done when governments lead the market economy in the right direction. But the Greens, who continue to dominate the debate about climate change, are morally affronted by economic growth and believe business is inherently evil.

The Guardian columnist George Monbiot says that “capitalism is cancer and must be cut out”. But to do that right now would be like cutting off your leg to make you walk faster. It is only by mobilising the resources of finance and industry, on an epic scale, that there is any hope of capping global temperature rise at 1.5%.

If you throw growth into reverse, as advocated by the Green economist Kate Raworth on Newsnight this week, we will simply get mass unemployment, poverty and more pollution.

People who know the score, such as the original doomwatcher himself, Al Gore, author of An Inconvenient Truth, are surprisingly upbeat. He says the means are now in place to decarbonise in time, and mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. But it has to be done in scale, and it can only be done through economic growth, generating millions of jobs.

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We have the model for this project, one of the biggest public-private partnerships in history: the Covid-19 pandemic. Big Pharma used to be loathed almost as much as the oil companies, blamed for everything from Thalidomide to the opioid crisis – until they, er, saved the world.

Pfizer, AstraZeneca and the rest didn't do it on their own, of course. It was researchers in publicly-funded universities like Oxford that used genetic manipulation (often portrayed by Greens as “Frankenscience”) to create vaccines in 10 months that would normally take ten years.

But it also took the government's Vaccine Task Force to invest public money in these projects, long before they were known to be viable. Then it was down to pharmaceutical companies to conduct controlled trials involving tens of thousands and then start churning out vaccines in the hundreds of millions.

This is economic growth, just like the wind turbines in Doggerland. We can't do this in our back gardens, nor can we combat climate change with the lifestyle environmentalism of bicycles and veganism.

Without economic growth we would still be sending men down mines to dig coal and ruin their health. Without more economic growth there is no way of stopping the biggest polluters on the planet, like China and India, from burning coal and ruining the planet – the biggest issue at the forthcoming COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

China is still opening new coal power stations almost by the week – 40 gigawatts in the past year alone. It burns half the world's coal and generates 40% of CO2 emissions. India is not far behind. Britain has abandoned coal and, despite Donald Trump's efforts, America is closing coal power stations as fast as China builds them. The US Climate Ambassador, John Kerry, has served notice on Asian countries that this is economically irrational and environmentally lethal.

The row will be furious. But the deal eventually struck is clear: it will involve hundreds of billions in climate subsidies to the global south to buy off the coal threat and underpin the future economic development of four billion people. And where will that come from? Economic growth. The inconvenient truth is we can't save the planet by going Green.

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