UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s net zero policy will cost taxpayers the equivalent of a £100 billion HS2 project every year till 2050. The final bill will surpass £3 trillion – the equivalent of £100,000 per household.
These are the shock findings of a series of reports into the true cost of Boris’s scheme to decarbonise the UK economy by 2050.
The summary, by Andrew Montford of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, finds that no credible attempt has been made by the government to cost its ‘Net Zero by 2050’ scheme, which was bequeathed to it by Theresa May in the dog days of her failing premiership.
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But the costs are in fact astronomical – far, far greater than the government’s green advisory body the Committee on Climate Change has been prepared to admit.
There are two main factors — the cost of decarbonising the electricity supply (mainly through the use of expensive, intermittent offshore wind power) and the cost of decarbonising domestic heat through retrofitting of insulation. Each of these issues is covered in a separate report, the first by former grid engineers Colin Gibson and Capell Aris; the second by Professor Michael Kelly.
Decarbonising the electricity supply will cost around £1.4 trillion more than if Britain had stuck to reliable, cheap gas generation. The extra cost per household will be around £50,000. Some of these costs will be borne via more expensive goods and services, some through higher energy prices. Electricity will — as President Obama once infamously put it when he tried to impose a similar eco-fascist scheme on the US economy — necessarily skyrocket.
Retrofitting of insulation in every household will, of course, reduce energy demand. But not nearly enough to offset the dramatic increase in costs created by rising electricity prices. Montford’s report draws on a study by Cambridge engineering professor Michael Kelly, who found that retrofitting insulation is an extremely cost-ineffective way of cutting CO2 emissions.
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For example, when the government tried this on social housing, the cost was £85,000 per household but the average reduction in CO2 emissions was only 60 per cent.
Achieving higher emissions reductions would be vastly more expensive, perhaps £135,000 per property for an 80 per cent CO2 reduction – at a total cost of £4 trillion.
Kelly has speculated that as the market developed, costs might fall to £2 trillion – or around £75,000 per home. This is in line with a separate study in 2016 by the Energy Technologies Institute.
But the Committee on Climate Change, under the chairmanship of the egregious Lord ‘Trougher’ Deben, has consistently sought to play down the cost implications.
“We estimate an increased annual resource cost to the UK economy from reaching a net zero [greenhouse gas] target that will rise to 1-2 percent of GDP by 2050”, it said in a summer 2019 report claiming that the costs of Net Zero were ‘manageable’.
Lord Deben has belittled suggestions that the financial aspects of net zero have been ignored, telling the House of Lords:
“I was unhappy to hear those who said that the report was uncosted and unprepared. It has been recognised universally as the most seriously presented, costed effort…”
But this is grossly misleading. As Montford notes in his report:
Despite the report being – in Lord Deben’s words – ‘costed’, the CCC has resisted attempts to have its calculations disclosed under FOI legislation. Even more remarkably, it has admitted that it has not actually calculated a cost for the period 2020–2049; there is only the £50 billion figure for 2050 (see Figure 1). The decision to undertake the decarbonisation of the economy is thus – contrary to what Lord Deben told Parliament – uncosted.
In other words, Boris Johnson’s net zero by 2050 scheme — so far largely unopposed and uncriticised, even by Conservative MPs — is an uncosted, ill-considered, virtue-signalling disaster in which the British economy will be forced to commit unilateral energy suicide to no purpose while the fossil-fuel economies of China, the U.S., India and Brazil continue to grow and grow.
GWPF director Benny Peiser comments:
“Although the Committee on Climate Change claims that net zero can be achieved at modest cost, they have now quietly admitted that they have not actually prepared any detailed costing. Unfortunately, Parliament seems to have taken them at their word, and we are now embarked on a project that risks to bankrupt the country.”
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