Whisper it in private, but as Rishi Sunak takes to the stage for his keynote speech in Manchester, for some there is a growing feeling of cautious optimism among the party faithful.
The reason is straightforward. Activists have been wanting the Prime Minister to take the party in a more conservative direction, particularly in the fields of climate policy and of course taxation.
More encouraging still, those moves have been welcomed by the public, with Labour’s lead having been cut to ten per cent according to a recent Opinium poll.
This new opposition to green zealotry presents the Conservatives with a huge opportunity, but the party needs to be bold in its response.
First, some background. Following the invasion of Ukraine and the consequent energy price spike, Governments throughout Europe are increasingly having to acknowledge that past policies have been based in the realm of fantasy.
In Germany, the Government has dropped more exacting eco construction standards. In Italy, the Government is pushing back against EU environmental initiatives.
And the Polish Government is actually suing the EU over eco policy!
Andrea Jenkyns has praised the PM for his stance on net zero
Politicians are increasingly concerned at the cost of climate policies so casually accepted in fits of holy posturing just a few years ago.
Reality is intruding on the British political scene, too.
Listening to the BBC one could be excused for thinking that the British people were, en masse, the Greenpeace Supporters Club.
The Beeb bangs the Climate Alarmist Drum relentlessly and apparently supposes that the public is on board.
However, the public is rightly appalled at attacks on their living standards, such as the ULEZ in London and the absurdly low speed limits in Wales.
When the Prime Minister introduced a more credible timetable for the introduction of electric vehicles the political class had a fit of the vapours.
Yet, as noted above, Labour’s poll lead was cut substantially.
Poor Sir Keir Starmer!
Ed Miliband’s eco zealotry has left Labour with a set of policies so outdated by events that it is the political equivalent of wearing bell-bottomed trousers and Bay City Roller scarves.
None of this is a surprise to me.
Families in my constituency watch their pennies to avoid debt and to provide treats for their children and grandchildren.
They do not want to be penalised by taxes, bans, and mandates that are doomed to be ineffective given that large emitters of carbon dioxide, such as China, have not exhibited the hysteria that has characterised Western policymaking hitherto.
While climate variability does bring challenges that need to be met, the evidence is that we can successfully adapt.
Human ingenuity outpaces climate variation, which is why we thrive from Singapore to Helsinki.
Much of the Climate debate in the UK is riddled with scaremongering disguised as science.
WATCH NOW: Net Zero and the impact on lives of normal people
I recently experienced the “Magical Thinking” of the greens first hand.
I appeared on a TV programme hosted by Sophy Ridge.
My fellow guest was left-wing commentator Ash Sarkar.
Sarkar posited that CO2 emissions could be cut substantially by improved home insulation.
Yet every year many British households already work to improve their home insulation, through double glazing, porches, and wall insulation.
By how much would Sarkar increase such work, what would it cost, and what would be the alleged benefit?
Green zealots on TV often make sweeping statements, like Sarkar’s, with little depth to them.
For example, when households have improved insulation they might not turn the heating down; they might instead enjoy a warmer house.
Economists call this the “Jevons Paradox”.
Such detail is missing in the broad-brush, daydream economics of the green TV-sofa warriors.
Joe Public increasingly senses that he has been sold a pup in the form of Net Zero. Carbon dioxide is not pollution. It is a trace gas necessary to sustain life on Earth.
Warmth is better than cold. Cold is the bigger killer.
The Western economies acting alone cannot fine-tune the composition of the global atmosphere without the support of African and Asian nations.
The cost of “combatting” climate change seems to be exceeding the costs of change itself.
A recent report from the think tank Civitas detailed how estimates of Net Zero costs are almost certainly too low.
For example, the cost of borrowed money has swung substantially in recent years, making a mockery of financial projections.
And what price can we possibly put on the “social costs of decarbonisation” – pylons ruining the landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, for example?
I applaud the Government’s more measured stance on Climate-related issues.
After all, the debate is riddled with margins of error wider than Sadiq Khan’s motorcade. It is “assumed” that advances will be made in battery technology and in Carbon Capture and Storage.
How can such things be known or quantified?
Yet the costs of Net Zero dogma are all too real. And there is a more fundamental question.
How long can Western Governments continue to claim they can shape the global climate using only one variable (CO2) when many factors impact Earth’s chaotic climate and CO2 is not even the most prevalent greenhouse gas?
Yes, reality is at last entering the policy making sphere, but we have a long way to go.
Prime Minister we welcome your move to roll back on Climate Change targets.
But now is the time to be bold and not just tinker around the edges. It’s time to have a common-sense approach and say “no” to the impossible task of meeting global net zero targets.
Instead let’s say yes to energy independence and energy security.