British taxpayers will be forced to squander more than £300 billion over the next 15 years on pointless climate change schemes – more than double the cost of HS2, the Heathrow airport extension, and Hinkley Point C combined.
This is the massive public spending scandal exposed in a report for the Global Warming Policy Foundation by MP Peter Lilley. It’s all thanks to the 2008 Climate Change Act which has committed Britain to the ludicrous goal of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 57 per cent by 2030.
Lilley was only one of a handful of MPs to vote against the Act which was largely written by an activist from the hard-left environment campaign group Friends of the Earth (Bryony – now Baroness Worthington), introduced under the last Labour government by the then Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband – and enthusiastically supported by the then Opposition leader David Cameron who was warming up to lead the “greenest government ever”.
Astonishingly, as Lilley details in the report, no one at a senior level in government since has ever submitted the Climate Change Act to any kind of cost benefit analysis, let alone thought to question whether Britain’s handicapping its economy in this way will make the blindest bit of difference to climate change.
As former Cabinet Secretary Lord Turnbull points out in his introduction to Lilley’s report, much has changed since the Climate Change Act was passed:
• Temperatures have risen but below the range of most climate change models.
• Many of the predictions about the harmful effects of climate change have been exaggerated.
• Fossil fuel prices which were expected to continue rising to the point where renewables reached ‘grid parity’ have fallen under the impact of new extraction technologies, thereby raising the costs of the subsidies required.
• No other country has followed us down the extreme unilateralist path.
• Severe damage is being done to our energy-intensive industries, most recently steel.
• Two of the technologies essential to achieve the carbon dioxide target at reasonable cost are struggling (nuclear power) or research has been abandoned, as in the case of carbon capture and storage.
Yet Britain remains legally bound by this exercise in green virtue-signalling passed all but unanimously by a House of Commons either too lazy, ill-informed or ideologically blinkered to appreciate just what damage it would be doing to Britain’s people, landscape and economy.
The costs, according to Lilley’s report, break down like this:
On the basis of figures from the OBR, DECC and the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the average cost of decarbonising electricity to meet Climate Change Act targets was or will be (in 2014 prices):
• £327 per household in 2014
• £584 per household in 2020
• £875 per household in 2030
• £1390 per household by 2050 – for the impact of the carbon dioxide emissions tax on electricity prices alone.
These costs place a cumulative £10,800 burden on each household, between 2014 and 2030. This is money that could be spent on families’ own priorities, and in more efficient sectors of the economy. Country-wide, this cost amounts to an extraordinary £319 billion, over three times the annual NHS England budget.
But these figures don’t take into account additional government spending on Climate Change over and above that to do with the Climate Change Act.
Official figures understate the system costs of intermittent renewables, omit the cost of biofuels in transport fuels, ignore Britain’s share of the EU budget (even though ‘at least 20% of the entire European Union budget for 2014–2020 will be spent on climate-related projects and policies’3), include nothing for DfID (which is likely to amount to at least £25 billion by 2030) and FCO spending on climate and exclude the mounting indirect costs such as lost jobs and output as a result of having rendered British industry less competitive.
Matt Ridley is properly excoriating on the topic:
But even on true believers’ own terms — indeed, especially on those terms — the Climate Change Act has been disastrous. In devising its climate-dominated energy policy, government has proceeded as if cost was no object. That is economically irrational, morally wrong and politically foolish. It has needlessly put climate policy on a collision course with public opinion.
Indeed. But there is no sign, even in Theresa May’s new broom administration, that anyone at a high level in government has the intelligence or understanding or appetite to deal with the problem. Apart from being an outrageous state-mandated wealth transfer scheme from the poor to the rich, Britain’s renewables-driven energy policy is despoiling the landscape, wiping out birds and bats, driving down rural property prices and posing a growing risk of power shortages, as reported yesterday by Breitbart.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. – which I’m currently visiting to research Trump’s energy and environment plans – they’re starting to take a much more realistic view on climate change. A key part of President-elect Trump’s mission to make America great again involves an all-out drive for cheap, reliable, homegrown fossil fuel energy at the expense of intermittent, taxpayer-subsidised renewables. This is going to give the U.S. an enormous competitive advantage over those countries in the world foolish enough to keep on making pointless sacrifices to the Green Goddess.
Britain needs to decide – and quickly – which side of the energy argument it wants to be on: with the winners in the U.S.; or the losers in the EU.