Skip to content

UK Govt’s “Clean Growth Strategy”

October 12, 2017

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


Just issued today:




An ambitious strategy setting out how the UK is leading the world in cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change while driving economic growth, has been published today (12 October 2017) by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.

‘The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the way to a low carbon future’ builds on the UK’s strong progress to date. Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen and national income risen faster and further than any other nation in the G7 – since 1990, emissions are down by 42% while the economy has grown by 67%.


The government’s strategy sets out how the whole country can benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through the creation of new technologies and new businesses, which creates jobs and prosperity across the UK, while meeting our ambitious national targets to tackle climate change.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

This government has put clean growth at the heart of its Industrial Strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change.

For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and investing in low carbon innovation. The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way.

Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry said:

The impact of the Paris agreement and the unstoppable global shift towards low carbon technologies gives the UK an unparalleled opportunity.

By focusing on Clean Growth, we can cut the cost of energy, drive economic prosperity, create high value jobs and improve our quality of life.

Every action that the government takes to cut emissions must be done while ensuring our economy remains competitive. The government’s actions to reduce carbon emissions, through support for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, have helped to reduce average consumer energy bills and more than offset the cost of government support for low carbon technologies, and the costs of key technologies such as offshore wind is plummeting.

For the first time the government is setting out in today’s Strategy how over £2.5 billion will be invested to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, as part of the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation in over three decades. This funding covers programmes delivering low carbon energy, transport, agriculture and waste.

That £2.5 billion of existing government spending includes up to £505 million from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes.

There are already more than 430,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains. Today’s policies will provide further opportunities right across the country for more jobs, higher earning power and increased productivity. The low carbon economy could grow 11% per year between 2015 and 2030 – faster than the rest of the economy.

There is a lot of nonsense to follow about how we are going to drive the economy forward by investing more in offshore wind, electric cars, climate friendly agriculture, CCS and a zero waste strategy. I fail to see how the public at large will actually be financially better off as a result of any of these.

Instead, most of the proposed actions will simply act to transfer money away from more productive parts of the economy.


But the thing I really wanted to concentrate on is this statement:

Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen and national income risen faster and further than any other nation in the G7 – since 1990, emissions are down by 42% while the economy has grown by 67%.

I have noticed this sort of statement made a few times lately. It implies that the two things are actually interconnected, that economic growth is not only possible despite decarbonisation but is the result of it.

Worse still, it suggests that decarbonisation will drive growth in future.

So let’s look at a few facts.

Below is the chart from the CCC, showing GHG emissions v GDP



If we home in on the split of CO2 emissions, we see this. (Note – this does not include non CO2 GHGs):



In total, emissions have dropped by 210 MtCO2 since 1990, from 594 to 384 MtCO2.

Most of this fall has come from power production, but much of this, 57 Mt, came in the 1990s as a result of the dash to gas, which replaced coal and had nothing to do with climate policies but instead was driven by economics.

Since 2009, another 74Mt has been saved from power production. This splits roughly 50/50 between reduced consumption and the rise of renewables. Whilst some of this reduced usage may be due to energy efficiency, more than half has come from industrial consumption.



By contrast, there has been virtually no drop in domestic consumption since 2014, despite the government’s much vaunted energy saving programmes.

As the first graph showed, there has also been a drop in direct emissions by industry. These began to drop quite sharply around 2000, and are now 56Mt lower.

Both the drop in direct emissions and electricity consumption by industry likely reflect a reduction in industrial activity, particularly heavy energy users. This is borne out by figures from the ONS for Industrial Production, which are down by 11% since 2000.



I am certainly not saying that this fall in output has been caused by energy prices, but it is abundantly clear that it has been responsible for much of the reduction in CO2 emissions.


But what about overall GDP? As the CCC shows, it has risen steadily since 1990, with the exception of the 2008 blip.

Is the economy simply moving from being a manufacturing to a service economy?

The answer lies in this next graph:



Real GDP per capita has virtually flatlined since 2007, rising by just 2.1%. The headline GDP increase as presented by the government is largely the result of population increase, and not of increased productivity.

There are many reasons for this, and it would be naive to blame it all on climate policies. However, it offers little confidence that the government’s new strategy will bring about the economic growth it claims.

  1. October 12, 2017 3:46 pm

    Another good example of volume (165 pages) covering up dubiously based content. It is more of a sales brochure for the green madmen who now control our economy and politicians. Many of the claims do not stand more than the shortest evaluation as you show above.

    • October 12, 2017 7:56 pm

      You have to remember that all the hundreds (thousands) of useless green bureaucrats in DECC were transferred to BEIS. The volume of garbage that they produce is enormous and none of it is useful.

    • Paddy permalink
      October 13, 2017 6:53 am

      What a brave New world these pollies are conjouring up. Thoroughly depressing. All I can say, at the age of 78, is, thank God one doesn’t have to live forever, and to hope with all sincerity that one day, the charlatans and those who enable them, will roast in Hell.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    October 12, 2017 3:50 pm

    The greenies will get their knickers in a twist that the proposed extra electricity demand for space heating & charging EVs necessitates an increase in both gas consumption & gas-fired capacity for power generation. (Page 97)

  3. markl permalink
    October 12, 2017 4:51 pm

    So help me understand this. Brexit was supposed to bankrupt the UK according to the MSM but now it’s leading the European economies thanks to renewable energy efforts that have skyrocketed electricity costs? This dichotomy must be putting the panties of all the politicians in a twist. Do they support the UK leaving the EU or not? Any lie in a storm will do.

  4. Richard Woollaston permalink
    October 12, 2017 4:51 pm

    It would be interesting to plot the various forms of government subsidy for renewables against the greenhouse gas chart

  5. Dave Ward permalink
    October 12, 2017 5:09 pm

    “It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil”

    No it’s not. Both depended on fossil fuels, just more efficient ways of using them. In fact many steam locomotives had oil fired boilers. It is actually comparable to reversing the industrial revolution – i.e. back to a time when power was only available when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

    If this is the level of understanding exhibited by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark then we are totally screwed…

    • A C Osborn permalink
      October 12, 2017 5:22 pm

      Yes we are totally screwed.

      • October 12, 2017 7:13 pm

        Yep, and paying handsomely for the privilege.

      • dave permalink
        October 13, 2017 7:41 am

        As the film star Lana Turner once said of an expensive lover:

        “The question is, whether the screwing I am getting is worth the screwing I am getting.”

        Later, her daughter resolved all issues by stabbing him (ruled ‘justifiable homicide’).

    • October 12, 2017 6:26 pm

      Yes, or to paraphrase Tony Abbot in his recent lecture: it is like going back from the age of powered ships to that of sailing ships.

  6. Bitter&twisted permalink
    October 12, 2017 5:18 pm

    “Leading the World……..”
    To the dustbin of history, courtesy of “green” policies.

  7. Tim Hammond permalink
    October 12, 2017 5:51 pm

    Are these people seriously making the claim that making a key input into our economy more expensive and less efficient has increased our wealth?

    Either they are utterly stupid or liars or they have successfully overturned a key tenet of economics. I know which one I am going for.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      October 12, 2017 7:17 pm

      One or both, Stupid Liars.

  8. October 12, 2017 7:23 pm

    In this report we see how statistics can be used to prove whatever you want to prove. But who now believes anything the government says? After the Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction dodgy dossier the public are largely cynical. By the time this climate change debacle has played out they are likely to be both angry and cynical.

  9. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 12, 2017 7:53 pm

    Checking out gridwatch templar as one does, it’s shameful how much gas we burn, ramping up and down as ‘unreliables’ fail us and poor old nuclear plugs along at about 8GW day and night.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      October 13, 2017 9:16 am

      Here’s an interesting situation. Today, 13/10/2017 at 11:00 the total output from the windturbines in Spain, France, UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania came to just shy of 22GW, the output from French and German Nuclear was twice that, German nuclear on its own was 10GW.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        October 13, 2017 5:34 pm

        The UK is being promised (depending on which track it takes) a mini hurricane for Monday 16th, so it will be interesting to see if our wind turbines are pushing 8+GW into the grid or next to nothing after they all rapidly shut down because the wind is TOO strong…

  10. October 12, 2017 8:05 pm

    ‘ driving economic growth’ = shovelling subsidies to the greenblob and dumping the bill on you.

  11. Athelstan permalink
    October 12, 2017 9:40 pm


    Repleted; after lots of soya sausage and get down to some serious Ging Gang Goolie with a bunch of young starry eyed greengrass smoking hopefuls on a field trip chasing polar bears up with Nanook and his chums round the camp fire. Next up, arrive the ‘experts’ – “the world is warming man – runaway effin man”………… the frost bitten wearing their Bermuda shorts and fiip flops cameth the warmunistas and peer reviewers friends and relations, plus some signalling all virtuous twatterati on a jolly fact finding expedition, some claque of pollies snowflakes and SJWs coming up the rear. Throw a few dobbers on the camp fire a couple of aljabeeba doylums and a few years of green sky thinking, pretty much they’d arrive at some stupid report:

    ‘The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the way to a low carbon future’

    Greenblob and confirmation bias.

  12. roger permalink
    October 12, 2017 9:56 pm

    I am so pleased to hear that as an average consumer my bills have decreased and that presumably the huge increase in price slated up to 2020 will not now take place.
    And to cap it all the beastly suppliers will forego the £1•5 billion excess charges they are making and I will no longer be compelled to shop around for the best tariff.
    Greg Clark must be as stupid as he looks if he thinks I believe one word that passes his lips.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      October 13, 2017 9:51 am

      They seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet, the trouble is the physics will not agree. Low carbon this that and the other will not work, end of! It is just like the lib/lab/con money tree, as extinct as the unicorn.

  13. HotScot permalink
    October 12, 2017 10:29 pm

    Then Tony Abbott comes along and kicks our government in the bollox.

    What a giggle, first Trump calls out the climate fake then Abbott (albeit in opposition). Who’ll be next?

    Honestly, I predicted this. As the political stakes rise and the opportunity for some political upstarts to gain attention by calling out climate change, they will jump at the chance. The public likes anyone who say’s ‘I’ll save you money’ and there’s now enough of it sloshing around the climate begging bowl, and now, credible senior political support, for it to be worth their time and risk.

    When the next election in the UK rolls round, just watch the clever opportunist politicians manoeuvring on the subject.

    Science won’t be the downfall of the climate scam, politics will.

    • HotScot permalink
      October 12, 2017 10:42 pm

      Boris for PM on a climate sceptic ticket perhaps?

      If anyone can smell an opportunity, he can.

      And I make no judgement on his suitability.

    • October 13, 2017 6:09 pm

      Tony Abbot is in the governing party of Oz
      It’s just that the media engineered a coup by their favoured Greenish colleague of Abott to take the primeministership off him

      • HotScot permalink
        October 13, 2017 9:23 pm

        I have enough trouble keeping up with the shenanigans of the UK’s political elite, never mind Australia’s.

        I bow to your superior knowledge, but I’m not sure it erodes my case. In fact, it might strengthen it.

  14. October 13, 2017 7:35 am

    UK population went up 15% from 1990-2016 (57.25m > 65.64m) so that’s the baseline GDP increase anyway.

  15. October 13, 2017 6:10 pm

    Immigration must be a big cause of energy demand
    yet the polis fiddle around with bits of insulation.

  16. Gerry, England permalink
    October 15, 2017 9:41 pm

    So energy prices have gone down thanks to the green bollocks? Does this mean I am due a refund as mine haven’t. Sticking with the small companies who are not required to do some of the green crap seems the only way but there is a risk. I was with GB Energy who went bankrupt.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: