Friday 31 May 2019


This piece looks at the reason why UK steel production is facing such a bleak future. It is due to our very high electricity prices compared with our near neighbours in France and Germany. When will our government understand how their interference in the electricity industry is causing a disaster for our industry. We' re not saving the planet, but we are in danger of losing thousands of industrial jobs.

Thursday 30 May 2019


George Mitchell, Hero To The World’s Poor
Global Warming Policy Forum, 29 May 2019

By Chris Wright
George P. Mitchell was the founding father of the Shale Revolution. On the occasion of his 100th birthday we asked Chris Wright, who developed some of the original hydrologic fracturing technologies and worked with George’s team on the first commercial shale gas wells, to recap Mitchell’s legacy.

George P Mitchell, the father of the Shale Revolution, 21 May 1919 – 26 July 2013
Savvas Paraskevopoulos was a goat herder in Greece who migrated to the US at age 20 in search of opportunity.  His son, George Mitchell, expanded opportunity for the whole world, most dramatically for the world’s poor.  
I only met George Mitchell once when he was around 80 years old and his resolve to crack the shale code was manifest.  My company (Pinnacle Technologies) and I had the good fortune to work with Mitchell’s team for four years testing and refining radically different hydraulic fracturing techniques.  Ultimately those new Frac techniques were combined with advances in horizontal drilling to enable massive shale gas production from the Barnett Shale that underlies Fort Worth, Texas.  
Mitchell Energy had a strong, innovative technical team of engineers and geologists who had been working for years  to unlock shale gas, most notably Nick Steinsberger, Kent Bowker and Dan Steward. They were as committed as Mitchell himself to crack the shale code and harvest the enormous natural gas resources in the Barnett Shale which rapidly became the largest natural gas producing field in the US. I don’t think that any of us at the time realized that these innovations would quickly upend the global energy landscape.
We have just hit the centenary of George Mitchell’s birth. It is hard to overstate the impact of the American Shale Revolution.  Energy consumers of the world now save over a trillion dollars annually due to lower energy costs resulting from surging US production.
In the last decade both US oil production and natural gas liquids production have more than doubled. The United States rapidly transitioned from the world’s largest importer of natural gas to one of the largest exporters. The same is true for oil as the US is now the world’s fourth largest exporter of crude oil. Lower petroleum prices enrich all consumers, but most dramatic is their impact on lower income folks for whom energy costs are significant part of their total income.
In China alone two hundred million people no longer cook with wood, dung or coal, which is among the largest sources of preventable death in the world killing an estimated three million folks annually. The rapid spread of low-cost Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) around the world replacing indoor wood burning has already saved millions of lives. The World Health Organization estimates that three million people still die annually from indoor cooking with solid biofuels, so there are millions of more lives that will saved by the continued growth in LPG and LNG exports from the United States that continue to push down global prices.
While US exports of oil, LNG, and LPG have pushed down global prices dramatically, the domestic prices of all three commodities are even lower within the US. Lower priced petroleum products and electricity in the US has led to a surge of manufacturing, petrochemicals, and other energy intensive industries in the United States. The result is strong demand for blue collar workers who are the most penalized by high energy costs.
Today blue collar wages are rising faster in the US than white collar wages, something that has not been seen for a long time. History will likely view George Mitchell in the same light as Norman Borlaug, the founding father of the Green Revolution. Both men ultimately saved millions of lives and increased the quality of life for all, most dramatically among the world’s poor.

Chris Wright was the founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technologies from 1992-2006 and later cofounded and serves as Chairman / CEO of Liberty Oilfield Services, one of the world’s leading hydraulic fracturing companies, and Liberty Resources, a shale oil & gas producer in North Dakota’s Bakken shale. 

Wednesday 29 May 2019


This article looks at the ludicrous situation in California where the state governor has ruled that the state's energy use must achieve zero emission capability and be carbon neutral by 2045.

However the 82% of fossil fuels dominate energy use resource by California in 2016 after a decade of state government mandated use of renewable energy, billions in carbon tax fees and more billions in renewable subsidies. This remains little changed from 2006 where 85% of the state’s total energy consumption was obtained from fossil fuels.

Tuesday 28 May 2019


This piece gives the details. Unfortunately I am not eligible, as I am not young enough and I am not able to write in favour of the alarmist side.  However it will be interesting to see if many young people are willing to try. My bet is not many

Monday 27 May 2019


This report tells the story. Quite what a three year-old could say about such a complex issue is beyond my comprehension, but what this whole story tells me is that we have lost the plot completely if no one dare to tell these children that there is another side to this narrative of impending doom.

The trouble is that many of our elected officials are now unable to think for themselves and are completely brain-washed on the climate issue. Those that are not are fearful of being "outed" as "deniers" or some similar insult.

Sunday 26 May 2019


This piece explains the conclusion of the UK's Climate Change Panel. It has not had any publicity, probably because it is admitting something that they do not want the Green Movement to hear.

Saturday 25 May 2019


This article shows how reality has finally dawned in Australia after the voters backed the governing party against an opposition that promised to drive through policies to make fossil fuels more expensive with a carbon tax. The government are opening a coal field bigger than the UK and so securing thousands of well-paid jobs. 

Friday 24 May 2019


This short paper by Prof John Christy gives a clear account of his calculation of the amount of warming which CO2 emissions are putting into the atmosphere. He is able to put across a complex subject in a way that can be understood by the public. He is one of the leading scientists in the field of climatology.

Here he is giving a recent lecture on you tube covering the same topic.  

Thursday 23 May 2019


This piece analyses the effectiveness of opinion polls in the light of the Australian election result. There have been a number of 'upsets' in recent years which are making us much more sceptical of opinion polls. And a good thing too! 

Wednesday 22 May 2019


Item 15  NOTICE OF MOTION For Council meeting on Monday 20 May 2019

In accordance with Standing Order 21 Cllr M Wade will move the following motion:-

Council note:
1.  Humans have already caused irreversible climate change, the impacts of which are being felt around the world.  Global temperatures have already increased by 1 degree Celsius from pre-industrial levels.  Atmospheric CO2 levels are above 400 parts per million (ppm).  The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018 gave us 12 years to implement changes to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees in order to avoid widespread drought, food scarcity, heat related deaths and loss of biodiversity including insects and vital crop pollinators.

2.   At present the world is on track to overshoot the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degree C limit before 2050. In order to reduce the chance of runaway global warming and limit the effects of climate breakdown it is imperative that we as a species reduce our CO2eq (carbon equivalent) emissions from their current 6.5 tonnes per person per year to less than 2 tonnes as soon as possible. 

3.  Individuals cannot be expected to make this reduction on their own. Society needs to change its laws, taxation, and infrastructure to make low carbon living easier and the new norm.

4.  Carbon emissions result from both production and consumption.

5.  New Forest District Council has already made some positive progress, but this is not enough. More can and must be done.  The Independent Panel on Climate Change in its Oct. 2018 report was very clear that action from all parts of society is necessary and local government has a responsibility to lead the way.

6, Councils around the world are responding by declaring a 'Climate Emergency' and taking action to address this emergency.

Council believes that:
1.  All levels of government (national, regional and local) have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate breakdown. Local councils that recognise this should not wait for their national governments to change their policies.

2.  The New Forest is a unique environment and this district council has a duty to protect it. The consequences of global temperatures rising above 1.5 degrees C are potentially so severe that preventing this from happening must be a number one priority.

3.  Bold local climate action can deliver economic and social benefits in terms of new green jobs, economic savings and market opportunities, as well much improved well-being for New Forest residents - for example through reducing fuel poverty and energy bills, encouraging healthy, active travel and improving green spaces and access to nature.

This Council therefore calls on the Cabinet to:

1.  Declare a 'Climate Emergency'.

2.  Pledge to make the New Forest district carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption emissions.

3.  Report to full Council within six months setting out the immediate actions the Council will take to address this emergency and a plan to measure annual countywide progress towards meeting the 2030 target.

4.  Work with partners across the district and the region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies and plans and drawing on local and global best practice.

5.  Actively lobby the government to provide the additional powers and resources needed to meet the 2030 target. 

The above motion is being put before a number of councils by Lib Dem and Green councillors all round the country. It has been referred to the Environment Panel which meets on 13 June. I will report on the result in due course.   

Tuesday 21 May 2019


This video is a very slick production which gives a few punchy facts about the greenhouse effect. The name is misleading as the video explains. However we are stuck with it and all its shortcomings exposed here. 

Monday 20 May 2019


This article gives the details. The Labor Party of Australia made their main policy commitment to "fight climate change" and it backfired. Here in the UK the main political parties seem determined to do the same. UK Labour has the most extreme policy, but Lib Dems seem to have lurched further towards this too. Even my own party is going along with the hysteria enthusiastically. 

Sunday 19 May 2019


This short video looks at the claims made by David Attenborough that Walruses were falling off cliffs due to lack of sea ice caused by warming of the Arctic. This video gives evidence which rebuts that claim and claims that Attenborough has used the walrus incident as propaganda to convince the public to support measures to cut CO2 emissions.

Saturday 18 May 2019


The Times, 13 May 2019

Drivers in European countries bought twice as many electric cars as their British counterparts last year as the government significantly reduced grants for green vehicles.

Sales of cars powered solely by battery were more than twice as high in France and Germany, adding to concerns over “sluggish” demand in the UK and questions over how the government will reach its targets for phasing out new petrol and diesel cars.
Norway sold three times as many electric cars as Britain while the Netherlands had sales that were 70 per cent higher, even though both countries have much smaller populations.
A report by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (EAMA) also showed that the rise in sales recorded in the UK last year was smaller than for any European country apart from Switzerland. The increase — 13.8 per cent year on year — was about a quarter of the European average.
Last autumn the government made the controversial decision to cut the grant for buyers of new ecofriendly cars, making them more expensive. The grant for pure electric cars was reduced from £4,500 to £3,500 and incentives for plug-in hybrids, which run on a combination of battery power and combustion engines, were abolished.
Electric cars cost up to £10,000 more than their petrol or diesel equivalents and the government has acknowledged that the gulf in price is unlikely to close until the mid-2020s at the earliest.
Full story

Friday 17 May 2019


This article has the details. The observed rate of warming — when we ignore the natural fluctuations in the climate system (which, along with severe weather events dominate “climate change” news) — is only about one-half of that projected by climate models at this point in the 21st Century. 

This fraction is consistent with the global energy budget study of Lewis & Curry (2018) which analysed 100 years of global temperatures and ocean heat content changes, and also found that the climate system is only about 1/2 as sensitive to increasing CO2 as climate models assume.

Thursday 16 May 2019


According to this article the environmental alarmists are demanding "justice" for those who mine the rare earth metals that are essential to build the solar cells, wind turbines and electric vehicles that we are all supposed to rely on when fossil fuels are finished. I am not sure what exactly "justice" means, but if it means that people are not expected to do these dirty, unhealthy mining jobs then the green revolution will not get very far.

Wednesday 15 May 2019


Australia is holding elections soon and they are currently having a series of televised debates. This piece picks out one question and how it was answered.  The question was a simple one - how much will the carbon tax cost? The politician's answer was a clever trick that would only work if the audience was very supportive of his policy. I wonder if our politicians would use the same trick, quite likely!

Tuesday 14 May 2019


This piece looks at two recent developments concerning global warming.  In one the USA reaffirms its commitment to re-examine comprehensive modelling that best reflects the actual state of climate science in order to inform its policy-making decisions, including comparing actual monitored climate data against the modelled climate trajectories on an on-going basis.

In another a scientist argues in the Times of India that climate science is too primitive to be of any use in making policy. Let it first get its predictions right and become a genuine science. Two examples of common sense emerging. 

Monday 13 May 2019


Here's a very good short video that asks some very pertinent questions such as 'why are businesses and people still investing heavily in the Maldives if they are about to be inundated by the ocean?'

Sunday 12 May 2019


This article explains the crazy thinking behind the UK Climate Change Committee's recommendation that the UK should increase its goal to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 from the present goal of 80%. Read the article and see how reckless and foolish it is.

Going to net zero requires a significant ramp up in policy, i.e. even more cost, hardship and disruption. The ban on petrol and diesel cars will have to be brought forward. One fifth of Britain’s farmland is to be converted to forest or given over to growing crops for fuel. “Societal choices” will be made (how?) so people eat less beef, lamb and dairy. People will need to make changes inside their homes.

See the article below for more on this:

Nick Timothy: When Will Green Zealots Figure Out That Britain Cannot Fight Climate Change Alone?
The Daily Telegraph, 9 May 2019

Britain is about to take a dangerous leap into the unknown. It will cause a massive economic hit, damaging industry and jeopardising jobs. The Government has no policies to implement its plan. Parliament has barely considered it. MPs are under pressure from zealous activists, who don’t realise that Britain doesn’t lead the world anymore.
Yes, the Climate Change Committee is back, and more crazily unilateralist than ever before. Their latest brainwave: to make Britain the first country to cut its carbon emissions to zero.
Industry must be decarbonised, conventional cars banned, and a fifth of farmland given up for biomass production and peatland restoration. “Emissions from international aviation,” it warns, “cannot be ignored.” Enjoy your family holiday while you can.
All this can be achieved, the committee says, at no greater economic cost than the original target, set by the Climate Change Act, to reduce carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 80 per cent by 2050.
Ignore the fact that the committee produced no credible impact assessment to justify its assertion. The Climate Change Act has already proved more expensive than was ever predicted, or admitted by ministers even today. And all for little reason.
The truth is, alone, Britain cannot do much to slow or stop climate change. Last year, we emitted 352.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. In the past eight years, developing countries increased their emissions by 4,362 million tonnes.
Yet Britain is wrecking its economic competitiveness. Industrial electricity prices have gone up by more than 160 per cent since 2004. And they are getting increasingly uncompetitive: in 2010 they were about average for a western economy; now they are 28 per cent more expensive.
We are also pushing up domestic bills. More than 2.5 million households in England – 11.1 per cent of the total – live in fuel poverty. A quarter of households on low and middle incomes struggle to pay their energy bills. So much for helping families who are “just about managing”.
And what are we achieving? Yes, Britain has reduced its emissions by 43.5 per cent compared to 1990 levels. But emissions relating to imports are 28 per cent higher than in 1997, when statistics were first collected. Emissions associated with imports from China are 276 per cent higher.
However, it is not only to China and the rest of Asia that we have outsourced our industry and emissions. We’re outsourcing them – along with jobs and prosperity – to other European countries too.
This is because the Climate Change Act ignores the European Emissions Trading Scheme. Under the ETS, total carbon emissions are capped and companies are given emissions allowances. Companies can then trade their allowances, selling their spares to companies that need them.
For every tonne of carbon not emitted in Britain as a result of the Climate Change Act, therefore, an extra tonne can be emitted elsewhere in Europe. Britain is going through the hardship and sacrifice of reducing its emissions, only to hand over its allowances, in effect, to European competitors.
Meanwhile, 39 per cent of Germany’s electricity production comes from coal, the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. Seven of Europe’s top 10 carbon emitters are German power stations. And while even America has reduced its carbon emissions by 16 per cent since 2000, Germany’s have fallen by only 10 per cent in that period.
Critics of the Climate Change Act warned ministers against reckless unilateralism. And the Act’s own impact assessment warned, “the economic case for the UK continuing to act alone where global action cannot be achieved would be weak”. Ministers said it was “a contribution to a worldwide effort”, but naively conceded that, “as yet we do not know what the worldwide effort is”.
Eleven years on, we know that the worldwide effort has been less intense than Britain’s. As Prof Dieter Helm, who ministers asked to review the cost of energy, says: “The cost … is significantly higher than it needs to be.” He adds that the Committee on Climate Change has been too gung-ho in setting carbon budgets, arguing, “as technology moves on … it will be cheaper to reduce carbon tomorrow than today”.
Sadly, ministers are keen to listen to a 16 year-old schoolgirl, but not to the esteemed economist and energy expert they themselves commissioned. And now, instead of learning from the mistakes of the Climate Change Act they look set to repeat them.
Full post

Saturday 11 May 2019


This piece explains. "Naturally these are estimates from unverified models that count species we haven't even discovered yet. This is truly a scare based on air, except air is real and has weight, and this isn't that substantial.

Matt Ridley has some interesting points below:

Matt Ridley: Biodiversity Alarmism Doesn’t Work
Reaction, 7 May 2019

The threat to biodiversity is not new, not necessarily accelerating, mostly not caused by economic growth or prosperity, nor by climate change, and won’t be reversed by retreating into organic self-sufficiency.
Driven perhaps by envy at the attention that climate change is getting, and ambition to set up a great new intergovernmental body that can fly scientists to mega-conferences, biologists have gone into overdrive on the subject of biodiversity this week.
They are right that there is a lot wrong with the world’s wildlife, that we can do much more to conserve, enhance and recover it, but much of the coverage in the media, and many of the pronouncements of Sir Bob Watson, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), are frankly weird.
The threat to biodiversity is not new, not necessarily accelerating, mostly not caused by economic growth or prosperity, nor by climate change, and won’t be reversed by retreating into organic self-sufficiency. Here’s a few gentle correctives.
Much of the human destruction of biodiversity happened a long time ago
Species extinction rates of mammals and birds peaked in the 19th century (mostly because of ships taking rats to islands). The last extinction of a breeding bird species in Europe was the Great Auk, in 1844. Thousands of years ago, stone-age hunter-gatherers caused megafaunal mass extinctions on North and South America, Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar with no help from modern technology or capitalism. That’s not to say extinctions don’t still happen but by far the biggest cause is still invasive alien species, especially on islands: it’s chytrid fungi that have killed off many frogs and toads, avian malaria that has killed off many of Hawaii’s honeycreepers, and so on.
This is a specific problem that can be tackled and reversed, but it will take technology and science and money, not retreating into self-sufficiency and eating beans. The eradication of rats on South Georgia island was a fine example of doing this right, with helicopters, GPS and a lot of science.
We’ve been here before. In 1981, the ecologist Paul Ehrlich predicted that 50% of all species would be extinct by 2005. In fact, about 1.4% of bird and mammal species, which are both easier to document than smaller creatures and more vulnerable to extinction, have gone extinct so far in several centuries.
The idea that “western values”, or “capitalism”, are the problem is wrong
On the whole what really diminishes biodiversity is a large but poor population trying to live off the land. As countries get richer and join the market economy they generally reverse deforestation, slow species loss and reverse some species declines. Countries like Bangladesh are now rich enough to be reforesting, not deforesting, and this is happening all over the world.
Most of this is natural forest, not plantations. As for wildlife, think of all the species that have returned to abundance in Britain: otters, ospreys, sea eagles, kites, cranes, beavers, deer and more. Why are wolves increasing all around the world, lions decreasing and tigers now holding steady? Basically, because wolves are in rich countries, lions in poor countries and tigers in middle income countries. Prosperity is the solution not the problem.
Nothing would kill off nature faster than trying to live off it. When an African villager gets rich enough to buy food in a shop rather than seek bushmeat in the forest, that’s a win for wildlife. Ditto if he or she can afford gas for cooking rather than cutting wood. The more we can urbanise and the more we can increase our use of intensive farming and fossil fuels, the less we will need to clear forests for either food or fuel.
Full post

Friday 10 May 2019


This article looks at the effect of roads, buildings etc on the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere.  It is something that has been known to push up temperatures for some time and yet it is largely ignored by those compiling the temperature data bases providing the evidence for global warming. They found that the daily minimum temperature was estimated to increase by 1.90 ± 0.88 K while the daily maximum temperature was not significantly affected by urbanisation.

Thursday 9 May 2019


This report lifts the lid on what the Chinese are really doing to curb emissions of CO2, the answer is - very little. This, of course, is not the story that is being given to the British public. We are lead to believe that they are leading the way in renewables. I wonder why we are being misled in this way? If the public knew the truth they would not be so keen to support our very costly efforts to reduce our own emissions, but in the end those efforts are futile and there is no getting away from that fact. 

It is as though our own media and political leaders are colluding to trick us into giving up our economic advantage.

Wednesday 8 May 2019


NPR, 29 April 2019

China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines. 

The flow of Chinese financing for new coal-fired power plants throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. GLOBAL COAL FINANCE TRACKER / COALSWARM
China, known as the world’s biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.
So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?
President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructureand trade links across several continents.
The forum, attended by leaders and delegates of nearly 40 countries, came amid growing criticism of China’s projects, including their effect on the environment.
Xi took the highly unusual step, for him, of meeting with international journalists, during which he repeated the slogan that he is committed to “open, clean and green development.”
Yet China’s overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change.
Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.
Days before the forum with its “clean and green” theme, the latest Chinese-built coal plant opened in Pakistan.

The plants are significant investments at a time when most nations of the world, including China, have committed to fighting climate change. “When you put money down and put steel into the ground for a coal-fired power plant,” says Cunningham, “it’s a 40- or 50-year commitment.”

Tuesday 7 May 2019


Sky News, 2 May 2019

The majority of Britons are unwilling to significantly reduce the amount they drive, fly and eat meat in order to combat climate change, a Sky Data poll reveals.

Just over half - 53% - say they would be unwilling even in principle to significantly reduce the amount they fly, while 28% say they would be willing to give up travelling by plane or reduce the amount they do so significantly (19% say they never fly anyway).

People responding to polls often overclaim their willingness to change their behaviour in ways considered socially desirable - but despite this some 52% say they would be unwilling to reduce the amount of meat they eat much (31%) or at all (21%) to help reduce global warming.

Four in ten say they would be willing to either reduce their meat consumption significantly (35%) or give it up entirely (five percent). A further eight percent do not eat meat.

A report from the Committee on Climate Change called for people to reduce how much meat they eat and how often they fly.

Some 56% say they would be unwilling to drive significantly less to protect the environment, with 28% saying they would be willing to reduce the amount they drive significantly or give it up entirely (17% already do not drive).

Monday 6 May 2019


Below is a report by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, whose former chairman and current President is Lord Lawson. The report destroys the false arguments put forward by the Climate Change Committee for moving the target to reduce CO2 emissions from the current 80% to 100%. It should be reported widely, but you can be sure it will not.


The recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for a Net Zero emissions target by 2050 is grounded in nothing stronger than irresponsible optimism and arbitrary assumptions about cost and technological feasibility. In point of fact, the technologies seen as necessary, including carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), further expansion of renewable generation, widespread adoption of hydrogen, and the very rapid electrification of the UK’s entire heating and transport systems, are either known failures or are unproven at these scales and would cost two to three times the amounts claimed by the CCC. Attempts to deliver these policies would ultimately fail, but in the attempt the UK would further harm its already declining productivity, and so erode the UK’s ability to compete internationally and thus deliver an acceptable standard of living for its people. This is not a sustainable low emissions strategy, and even if accepted by government is very likely to end only in humiliating and distressed policy correction. A wise government would reject this advice.

The Net Zero target and the recent history of emissions reductions in the UK

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is advising the government of the UK to revise and increase the ambitions of the Climate Change Act. The Act already commits the country to an 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as compared to 1990 levels. The new proposal is that it should have ‘Net Zero’ emissions by that year. The UK has, the CCC claims, already reduced its inland consumption emissions by 40% against the 1990 baseline, and it presents the current proposal as a rational continuation of that success story. But this is a selective and misleading history. When the emissions associated with UK consumption through manufacturing in other countries are taken into account, the UK’s carbon footprint was actually still rising up until the 2008 downturn, when it fell because of economic difficulties, and is now showing some signs of returning to the upwards trend as the economy slowly recovers. In essence, the UK simply exported its emissions to other parts of the world, principally China, in substantial part through carbon leakage resulting from high energy costs in the UK, costs which in substantial part were the result of climate policies. This history gives no ground for optimism with regard to the Net Zero target now proposed. Far from being a success on which we can build, UK climate policy has been a failure, resulting only in domestic economic damage and the illusion of reduced emissions.

The overriding problem facing the UK is the comparatively slow growth in productivity. For much of the last century, the UK’s productivity has been below that of the major industrial economies, and the gap has grown in the first two decades of the 21st century. The consequence has been no growth in real wages and incomes, a fact that strains domestic budgets and exacerbates a general reluctance to make the investments required for future economic prosperity.

This deterioration in productivity growth closely follows and is substantially associated with the implementation of policies to reduce energy use and carbon emissions. There are three reasons for this link:

(a) Large amounts of investment and labour have been diverted to capital-intensive renewables, crowding out investment in other infrastructure and sectors with much higher levels of capital and labour productivity.

(b) The resulting increases in energy prices have prompted high-productivity manufacturing and other industries to conclude that they should look elsewhere for growth in both demand and production.

(c) More generally, the efforts and resources of businesses and innovators have been diverted away from improving productivity and towards efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Furthermore, the idea that there is a global opportunity for the UK to grow by exploiting low carbon technologies is demonstrably a myth.

There can be no doubt that these factors have had a major impact on the development of the UK economy in the last two decades. Low carbon growth may be the holy grail, but the reality is almost no growth and slower reductions in carbon emissions per unit of output than in, say, the United States. Yet the CCC is now recommending proposals that are explicitly designed to reinforce this disappointing performance.

If the government accepts the CCC’s proposals, which are marked by a persistent special pleading about the costs and feasibilities, it will immediately sabotage any plan to rectify the UK’s poor productivity performance and weaken international competitiveness. Its recommendations will ensure that the UK suffers from even lower productivity and be still poorer relative to the rest of the world in 2050 than in 2020. At the same time, the slower growth in productivity brought about by these proposals will increase the burden of meeting the CCC’s targets to a level that will not be bearable. The only doubt is how much pain the population will endure, and how much damage will be done, before these infeasible targets are abandoned.

The study that underlies the CCC’s proposals is marked by what can only be called ‘fantasy analysis’. Electricity demand is required to double on present levels, when in fact it is falling due to high prices. The CCC’s plans require that all of that additional electricity must come from low carbon sources, as opposed to under 50% today. The CCC itself admits that CCS is ‘essential’ to its vision for the 2050 target, and must be substantially deployed before 2030, with a significant level by 2026. At present it is non-existent in the UK, and non-viable at scale elsewhere. There must be 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030, and 75 GW by 2050; at present there is 8 GW, all heavily subsidised, with no sign that the industry is in fact able to build offshore wind at market competitive rates.

The CCC believes that petrol and diesel cars and vans must be phased out well before 2040, but admits that even the current eye-catching and over-ambitious plans to mandate electric vehicles by 2035 cannot deliver this transformation. It consequently suggests that new fossil-fuelled vehicles must be outlawed by 2030. Such a ban would in all probability destroy the existing market for domestic car manufacture, as Chinese and other Asian companies using cheap energy and cheap labour will make the UK uncompetitive.

The study notes that the UK’s provision of space and water heating must be converted to electricity and hydrogen, but admits that there is currently ‘no serious plan’ in existence for this revolution. That is correct, but unfortunately, the study does not itself provide one.

The CCC states that there must be very large afforestation schemes to act as carbon sinks, at a rate of 20,000 hectares per year up to 2025, and 27,000 hectares per year thereafter. The CCC itself admits that the current rate has been only about 10,000 hectares per year over the last five years. In any case, the use of forestry as a carbon sink only has a short-term impact unless CCS is applied to wood burning, which is not feasible on a small scale and is unaffordably expensive on a large scale.

Overall, the CCC’s reaction to these manifest failures and difficulties is to conclude that the ‘voluntary approach’ has failed hitherto and would not deliver the new proposals. Implicitly, therefore, the policies that it recommends must be mandatory and state-led. But nowhere does the CCC’s report consider whether the state actually has the administrative or technical competence to successfully deliver these remarkable objectives. Nor does it consider whether the cost of doing so is likely to be tolerable to the public. Indeed, strikingly, though the CCC makes assertions about the cost and benefits of increasing the Climate Change Act target to Net Zero, there is no attempt to actually quantify the marginal costs and benefits of each step necessary – the most fundamental requirement for such an exercise. Indeed, many of the costs actually cited in the report ignore the practical realities of installation, operation and maintenance of technologies that are well-understood and have failed to achieve widespread deployment without large subsidies. Experience tells us that, if adopted, the CCC’s programme will cost anything from three to five times the estimates in this report and will take up to twice as long to implement.

In summary, the Committee on Climate Change has not produced a serious assessment of the practical feasibility and costs of a Net Zero 2050 target. On the contrary, it has simply taken the Net Zero target as a given and made irrationally optimistic and arbitrary assumptions comprising a fictional narrative that magically delivers the emissions reduction goal as the Happy Ending. This is unrealistic, irresponsible, and misleading.

The government should obviously reject the Climate Change Committee’s poorly argued advice, which is economically hazardous and does not offer a sustainable emissions reductions trajectory.

GWPF Statement On The Proposed Net Zero 2050 Emissions Target

Dr Benny Peiser
Global Warming Policy Forum
55 Tufton Street, London SW1P 3QL
m: 07553 361717