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No Carbon Britain

May 7, 2019

By Paul Homewood



[This is a follow up post to my earlier analysis last week. I have pitched it at a more general level, but apologies for duplication]



The UK already has legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Desperate to virtue signal, last year the government asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for advice on how to strengthen  this commitment to eliminate emissions completely by 2050.

The CCC has now responded with a detailed proposal which is likely to be highly damaging to the UK’s economy, yet has garnered very little critical attention in the press.

It must also be said that most of what the CCC is now proposing will be needed to hit the existing 80% target anyway.

Britain’s emissions of CO2 are of course tiny in global terms, just 1%. Since the Climate Change Act in 2008, they have fallen by 162 MtCO2, yet globally they have risen by 3063 MtCO2, to 33444 MtCO2. And this reduction has come at a huge cost, estimated by the OBR at £66bn over the next five years.

At the EU level, Germany, Italy and Poland have already made it clear that they are not prepared to back drastic emission cuts.

Much has been written about the Paris Agreement and its commitment to hold warming to 2C. Yet the Agreement specifically states that, if all of the national pledges are met, emissions would actually have risen by 12% come 2030, making any UK cuts meaningless.

So what do these new proposals hold in store for us?

Let’s start with the cost, which the CCC puts at £50bn a year by 2050. This equates to more then £1800 per household, based on current population.

A large chunk of this cost will impact households directly as natural gas is phased out, and replaced by much more expensive low carbon alternatives. These fall into three categories:

1) Electrical resistance heating (basically conventional electric fires and radiators). Electricity is approximately four times as expensive as natural gas in terms of units of energy.  As well as paying much higher energy bills, householders will need to buy new appliances.

2) Heat pumps are more energy efficient than resistance heating, but are still estimated to double heating bills. Moreover, they cost in the region of £10000 to install.

3) Hydrogen, which is produced from natural gas by steam reforming. As the process produces CO2, this would need to be captured and stored. It is estimated that using hydrogen will double gas bills. In addition gas networks and household appliances will need to be modified at a cost of tens of billions.

The CCC estimate that overall household energy bills will increase by £500 pa on average, as a result of the shift away from gas.



Demand for power is forecast to double, as heating and transport are electrified. But peak demand for electricity will certainly more than double, because of heating demands are mainly in winter. This will entail not just a massive increase in generating capacity, but also strengthening of transmission and local networks, for which the CCC does not appear to have budgeted for.

Even with the massive increase in renewable capacity planned, it may come as a surprise to learn that there is still a need for gas generation, to provide standby capacity. Indeed, generation from gas is projected to be greater in 2050 than it is now.

On top of that, large amounts of natural gas will be needed to produce all of that hydrogen mentioned above. So what happens to the emissions of CO2? The CCC is relying on using carbon capture and storage (CCS) for both power generation and hydrogen production, even though the process is still unproven on a commercial scale.



All new cars and vans must be pure electric by 2030, according to the CCC’s plan. Note that this excludes hybrids, for which development by car manufacturers would probably cease overnight. The CCC offer no strategy for what the motorists who make up nearly half the population with no off street parking are supposed to do when they need to recharge.

Nor do they explain how the National Grid can cope with the massive increase in demand for electricity, which local networks do not have capacity for.

Such a rapid move to EVs would pose an existential risk to car manufacturers, with low cost Asian factories poised to take business away. We have already seen Nissan and Honda pull out because of the demonisation of diesel, while Honda’s new EV, the Urban, is being made in Asia.

Industry in general stands to take a big hit as well from the CCC’s proposals, which they estimate at £10bn a year. Thousands of jobs could be put at risk in sectors especially vulnerable, such as oil refineries, chemicals and steel. Not to mention all of those central heating engineers!

To top it all, the CCC want a fifth of productive farmland to be taken out, for reforestation and biomass production, which will surely lead to greater imports of food.

Given that some emissions cannot be entirely eliminated, the CCC has the bright idea of using technology to remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere, at the mind boggling cost of £20bn a year.

Voters were never consulted when the Climate Change was originally introduced, and will probably get no say about this latest utterly mad proposal, even though they are the ones who will pay through the nose for it.

Meanwhile there appears to be a conspiracy in the media to hide the real costs from the public.

We deserve better.

  1. Pablo permalink
    May 7, 2019 6:56 pm

    “fracking and natural gas is cheaper than fossil fuels” !?

    quote from “Beyond One Hundred Days” BBC yesterday at 22.56 in..

    Illustrates the general level of ignorance and confusion of supposedly educated people about CO2 and carbon.

  2. May 7, 2019 7:07 pm

    Good luck with air-to-air heat pumps keeping you warm and toasty and with supplying all the electricity needed for transportation, heating and refrigeration. My house in Virginia is heated and cooled via heat pump. It has resistance heaters for those chilly days.

    What do you plan to do for biomass electricity when you’ve finished clear cutting the US east coast?

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      May 7, 2019 7:23 pm

      Well first of all Bob, please accept my apologies for the stupidity of my government (UK). Most Brits I know are embarrassed by the environmental destruction in the USA so that we can burn trees in a power station.

      A ground/lake source heat pump feeding a well insulated house is just about suitable, but really only for space heating. Raising the water temperature much above 30 C gets difficult. One problem is that many projections of UK heat pump use have been worked out during a mild run of years – if winters return colder then air to air pumps lose 5% efficiency for every extra 1c they have to raise the temp of the water.

      • tomo permalink
        May 7, 2019 9:12 pm

        +1 on the apology there …

    • PeterGB permalink
      May 8, 2019 11:15 am

      But Bob, we (in the UK) are reliably informed that Drax (biomass power station) runs on waste wood! Are you implying that is a falsehood? Do you mean that it is actually not possible to generate 14TWh/pa of electricity from offcuts and sawdust sweepings off of the shop floor?
      I can only join The Man at the Back in an apology. Like so many things we did not vote for this, yet another instance of costly and deceitful greencrap foisted upon an unwitting and unknowing populus destroying the world we live in.

      • May 8, 2019 2:32 pm

        I’m sure it’s all wastes. The same source used to dry the fuel.

  3. THe Man at the Back permalink
    May 7, 2019 7:13 pm

    Well if I live to be 100, I might just be able to see the mess before I go to prop-up the daisies.

    BUT surely reality will have set in long before then ?? Won’t it ??

    It is heartening that some CAGW sceptic parties are making headway, in some parts of Europe now. How long will it take in the UK? Don’t bother to answer that!

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      May 8, 2019 9:44 am

      If these people were rational it should only take the 12 years we have before we are overtaken by total destruction of the human race.

      • Pancho Plail permalink
        May 8, 2019 9:47 am

        Perhaps I should add in case people didn’t spot the sarcasm, by which time they will have spotted we haven’t been annihilated.

  4. bobn permalink
    May 7, 2019 8:08 pm

    Since CO2 is not a ‘greenhouse’ gas of any significance then we can simply ignore it. There, Ive solve their problem. Of course H2O is the major ‘greenhouse’ gas, but strangly its not mentioned by the CCC nutters. I guess their solution is to close the heritage railway lines and ban hot tea. Are you sure the CCC isnt just a Monty Python sketch?

    PS: UKIP and the Brexit party are both CAGW skeptical, hence they get my votes.

  5. Mack permalink
    May 7, 2019 8:21 pm

    Well done Paul, another eviscerating expose of the numerical and scientific ignorance and wishful thinking of the CCC. Wouldn’t it be nice to have actual industry experts and engineers advising our clueless political masters on energy policy as opposed to the motley crew of activists and green troughers that we have now? Slightly off topic, and just for a giggle, have a look at John Nolte’s recent article on Breitbart about CNN’s latest move to Manhattan, on the shore of the Hudson River …. the same shoreline that CNN have been telling us for years would be underwater by now due to, yup, Global Warming. Now, if the leading US broadcasters of climate doom don’t take their own warnings of Climeageddon seriously, it tells you all you need to know about the veracity of the daily volleys of greenwash we get from the established media and their pals in such corrupted outfits as the CCC.

  6. markl permalink
    May 7, 2019 8:58 pm

    The victims in the UK won’t have to worry about the cost of energy going up because there won’t be any jobs to make the necessary money anyway. But don’t worry, the government will supply your energy. That’s the plan. Already UK has shut down almost, if not all, of its’ metal smelting plants and with it the associated heavy industry. But once again not to worry as the government has a deal with China to provide everything needed that the UK previously supplied on its’ own. Electric vehicles for the people? Once again don’t worry about affording them due to lack of employment because they won’t be needed because all transportation will be government provided and since there will be no jobs you won’t need transportation anyway. It’s all in the plan if you took the time to read Agenda 21 (or whatever it’s called now). Don’t worry, be happy. The Fabians will take care of you until the Marxists take over.

    • I_am_not_a_robot permalink
      May 8, 2019 8:32 am

      As Wiki points out the Fabian Society took its name from the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus who “… sought gradual victory against the superior Carthaginian army under the renowned general Hannibal through persistence, harassment, and wearing the enemy down by attrition …” the very same tactic used by greens and nanny-statists nowadays viz. gradually ratcheting up their demands.
      The Society’s logo is a tortoise representing its ‘predilection for a slow, imperceptible transition to socialism’ while the original coat of arms was a wolf in sheep clothing …
      … but it was later abandoned because of the obvious ‘negative connotations’ — LOL.

  7. John F. Hultquist permalink
    May 7, 2019 9:06 pm

    carbon capture and storage (CCS) for both power generation and hydrogen production, even though the process is still unproven on a commercial scale.

    Many think that CCS will NOT work on a commercial scale.

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 7, 2019 9:26 pm

    Mail spreading wind/solar (rather than gas/wood pellet) replacing coal lie again.

    Bank holiday W/E, low demand, none of coal or solar or wind were required to meet demand.

    We did need coal/OCGT last winter and it was mild!

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      May 8, 2019 10:15 am

      NEMO interconnector to Belgium is online now so that’s another 1GW of surplus EU power aka E.German/Polish Lignite thats promoted as green power

  9. May 7, 2019 9:26 pm

    As to Hydrogen being a viable option, most certainly not. H2 is fit for purpose in two applications only: feedstock for synthetic liquid hydrocarbons or synthesis of ammonia.

    See: Energy and the Hydrogen Economy

    Click to access hyd_economy_bossel_eliasson.pdf

  10. Gamecock permalink
    May 7, 2019 11:28 pm

    ‘The UK already has legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.’

    We can’t legally bind the future. Declaring what the people in 2050 must do is actually rather humorous.

    • bobn permalink
      May 8, 2019 1:23 am

      Exactly. Im going to keep running with burn baby burn. I just love to light them fires. Free that beautiful CO2.

  11. May 8, 2019 12:02 am

    I live in Canada and without fossil fuels, nuclear and water we will freeze .Plus Canada is huge and you have to drive everywhere. How did the climate change people ever get so much power and influence. Our way of life is at stake. The green energy companies are taking over the world. A Germany windmill company has been here building turbines and wrecking the environment and landscape.They are now in bankruptcy court in Germany.
    Is there anyway you people in the UK can put a halt to all this climate change propaganda.It is hurting us in Canada because the world is global and the same companies are all over the world. Something is going on here and I can’t quite figure it out. The UN has 200 countries.Is the small countries trying to get wealth from the developed countries by way of carbon pricing.
    How accurate is the temperature being recorded in Africa? Do they even have records that go back 200 years

  12. matthew dalby permalink
    May 8, 2019 12:06 am

    Perhaps there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that politicians (of every party) rarely do what they say they are going to do. It is very easy, and presumably some one has told them it will go down well with voters, to declare a climate emergency or set targets for decades in the future. However what is needed to reduce emissions (if it was practical or desirable) is actual policies, and I can’t see any government agreeing to spend the billions required or being prepared to pass on such high costs to voters. The worst that I think will happen is that there will be a lot of virtue signalling and some more misguided policies (such as more wind and solar capacity, or the plan to ban gas appliances in new homes) which will raise energy costs a bit more, but when it comes to the crunch governments of whatever party will baulk from fulling implimenting the reports recommendations. Therefore in terms of higher energy bills and wasted money the future isn’t looking good, but it won’t be as bad certain eco-zealots would like it to be.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      May 8, 2019 9:15 am

      I’m not so sure. The problem is that lots of things will be done, each one with a “reasonable” cost (which will be underestimated) and both the total costs and the consequential costs will be ignored. As this report shows, wishful thinking around technology and behaviours will abound.

      Assuming the £50 billion is wrong by a factor of three, because of unforeseen consequences, we are talking about a permanent reduction of 5% or more of GDP. That’s perhaps 5 million people or more unemployed. And that’s before we take account of everybody else doing the same thing – imagine what happens to our tourist industry if most long-haul flying stops for example.

      If every country loses 5% of GDP, there would be a massive knock-on effect that would lead to a severe global depression.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        May 8, 2019 11:06 am

        If every country loses 5% of GDP

        Unlikely P44: most countries have little – if any – interest in emission reduction.

  13. Neil Hampshire permalink
    May 8, 2019 7:35 am

    The trouble is nobody seems to understand the size of China’s emissions!

    China emits 13,000 Mte of CO2 per year.
    (That is 35.6 Mte of CO2 per DAY)

    The UK emits 360 Mte of CO2 per YEAR.

    If you were able to make the UK carbon neutral TOMORROW.

    China would put all that CO2 back into the atmosphere in just 10 DAYS

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      May 8, 2019 8:50 am

      An important point Neil. However I think the Chinese per annum figure is nearer 10,500 Mte:

      • Neil Hampshire permalink
        May 8, 2019 2:44 pm


        We keep talking on this subject.
        I use for my data.

        I notice Wikipedia quotes 10,800 Mte of CO2 /year = 29.6 Mte of CO2 /day

        It still only takes 12 DAYS for China to put the CO2 back into the atmosphere

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        May 8, 2019 3:08 pm

        As I said Neil, you’re making an important point. I prefer the EDGAR figures which at 10,433 Mte for China and 368 for the UK (both 2016) mean only 13 days to obliterate the UK’s savings. Not a significant difference.

  14. Phoenix44 permalink
    May 8, 2019 9:04 am

    There is no doubt that this lunacy would cost at least 3-4 times what is claimed and produce:

    1. No long distance car journeys as the need to recharge batteries makes the time required far too long

    2. Frequent blackouts as electricity demand will not be met at peak times and in the winter

    3. Significant lifestyle changes for the worst – e.g. what do you do when you need a car at midnight but your batteries are not charged?

    4. Millions each year unable to go on holiday – how do you accommodate and transport the millions of people who currently got abroad for holiday when flying is rationed?

    5. Mass fuel poverty as the poor and old will not be able to afford to replace appliances and heating

    6. Mass unemployment caused by the huge costs of transition

    7. The death of rural living and small towns. EVs will be wholly unsuitable for the countryside and public transport cannot substitute. Big cities will be far better placed to cope. There will be few jobs outside the bug cities as logistics and transport become very expensive.

    8. Food production will fall dramatically and prices rise significantly. Imports will become much more expensive as transport costs rise. Refrigeration over long distances may become impossible.

    This is a retreat to the 1750s. If we are lucky.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 8, 2019 11:25 am

      Nobody will accept this. Every country will have a ‘carbon spring’ uprising, Yellow Vests times 10 million.

  15. Ian Wilson permalink
    May 8, 2019 9:14 am

    Apropos this story and the Christian Aid propaganda leaflets , I wrote to the charity (??) asking why, if their principal aim is to ensure everyone is well fed, they are not rejoicing at the rise in world food output correlating with rising CO2 levels, a far better link than between levels of the gas and temperature.
    When I was young and naive I was a collector for them – no longer.
    No reply yet.

  16. May 8, 2019 9:31 am

    I live in Bridgend in South Wales. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is being built south of me on the coast of Somerset (its on the coast as they need the water to cool the system and release the heated water back). Costs of building currently £20 billion and likely to rise. Construction due to finish by 2025 but likely to be delayed. Commissioning and full functionality several more years. 35 years to pay for. Life span sixty years. (if nothing goes wrong) Decommissioning and disposing off or looking after nuclear wast for a very very long time LOADS OF MONEY. The cost of electricity produced will be the most expensive yet.
    (some proposed wave and tide projects would be more expensive if ever built)

    Is there a more sensible use of this money are there better alternatives.
    We are sitting on a lot of coal in Wales and off the coast. This could be mined either open cast or by robot technology further under ground or offshore.
    If people prefer renewable’s I think solar panels would be better value and would create more jobs than Hinkley point C. There are pros and cons for solar panels. The main pro is it is distributed energy as lot of energy is lost getting from point of collection to point of use.
    Solar Panels are made of materials these need to be mined transported processed machined transported again assembled and fitted. They then need to be maintained and replaced when better solar panels are developed. If temporary storage is included there is more cost.
    But a lot of jobs would be created at least those than can not be given away to other countries like assembling fitting and maintaining.
    Might keep the GREEN alarmists happy.

    • Pancho Plail permalink
      May 8, 2019 9:56 am

      There must be some way of putting all the hot air generated by environmentalists to good use.

    • Peter Barrett permalink
      May 8, 2019 11:35 am

      Intermittents (PV and windpower) require backup generators for when the “sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow”. Power engineers with bigger brains than mine estimate the backup requirement to be 90% of the intermittent nameplate output for national supply security. As actual output averages below 35% of nameplate output over time for PV and solar you either have to increase the intermittent capacity by a factor of three or have the backup running all the time. Of course, if you treble your intermittent capacity you then have to treble your backup capacity as well if you are going to ensure supply . It is all madness. If anyone mentions batteries I shall scream.

  17. johnbillscott permalink
    May 8, 2019 1:08 pm

    Heat pumps are good and do, in my case save oil but increase electricity consumption – yes there is no free ticket. However, below -20C the oil furnace kicks in to heat the air which is circulated throughout the house. What is forgotten is the system needs electricity to work (air distribution fan, unit pump and condensation pumping)

    I fail to see how supposedly intelligent people cannot see a zero carbon economy is not viable. This is borne out by many excellent articles that have been published telling all why it is technically impossible. Of course we could revert to pre-industrial age living standards and all the glamour that goes with it – nice cozy nights in the cave sitting by the fire.

  18. johnbillscott permalink
    May 8, 2019 1:19 pm

    A major problem is the group of political poseurs vying to out virtue signal each other supported by wealthy NGO’s and so called scientists who sold their integrity for cash. The Green Deal in the US points to a dismal future for the world as seen by high flying Social Marxists ignorantly pursuing the corrupt UN fear agenda. The new UN fear on the million species disappearing is trying to gain traction and this must theology must be fought with facts. However, the NGO;s and scientists see this as a new bonanza.

  19. May 8, 2019 2:25 pm

    I do not know how many solar panels you could fit for £20 plus billion (the true cost should include looking after nuclear waste but I have no idea how to calculate it) But I guess quite a few solar panels could be made and fitted for the same cost. If these solar panels resulted in 10% less electricity from the mains(I just picked 10% at random no idea how much they would save) . Plus less chance of nuclear accident fallout drifting across the Bristol channel.
    Although quite a few roofers might die and be injured fitting the solar panels.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 8, 2019 8:54 pm

      Fag packet, £20 Billion buys 1.2GW of PV full time equivalent in the UK.

      (£6750 for a 4KW system capacity factor 10% in the UK i.e. 0.4KW 24×7 equivalent).

      But you have to add in the cost of storage or 100% backup generation too as solar does not work at night and is useless in winter with 8 hours of low angle sun and it’s very peaky during the day too!)

      Hinkley C is 3.2GW

      • May 9, 2019 8:22 am

        The £6750 is one off retail cost but economy of scale bulk purchase actual manufacturing and fitting cost without or minimal profit could easily cut this buy a third giving you 3.6GW for same cost. Before factoring in
        You do not have to add batteries just calculate more use of mains
        depending on which is cheaper.
        The unknown cost of looking after the nuclear wast for like ever.
        The cost of clean up if it goes wrong like Chernobyl or Three mile Island or Fukushima or is shut down due to safety fears like many nuclear plants.
        At least solar panels would not have the potential to kill me unless strong winds ripped it off the roof and dropped on my head.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        May 9, 2019 9:03 am

        I’d doubt you’d get a bulk installation down that low, and you didn’t say you meant a bulk farm rather than building tops anyway – so you need to account for the massive amenity loss of a massive area of land then!

        Chernobyl and Fukushima have actually proven that the dangers are not anywhere need near as bad as people thought. Modern reactor designs can be made all but fool-proof.

        Have you seen the chemical wastelands, ruined landscape and farming, from the mining/manufacturing of solar panels?

        Using ‘more mains’ is still a cost of using solar – you have to add in the cost of storage or building the generation to fill in/smooth – be it nuclear or a fossil fuel power station, the fact that ‘renewables’ like wind and solar are not dispatchable IS an additional cost that must be included – like it or not.

        Neither solar nor nuclear are desirable or sensible, when we have years of gas left.

  20. Douglas Brodie permalink
    May 8, 2019 3:26 pm

    Hopefully the lack of mainstream media coverage on the Committee on Climate Change’s net-zero emissions plan is due to the growing realisation that it is totally infeasible and that large numbers of the general public think that as well.

    The CCC plan for the UK is a mindless aping of the Special Report proposal put out by the UN IPCC last autumn, firstly to cut global emissions by 45% by 2030 and then to reach net-zero global emissions by 2050. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation described it at the time as the IPCC’s “Hail Mary” – its last, desperate shot at trying to scare a world which just doesn’t care any more. The GWPF predicts that the CCC plan is “very likely to end only in humiliating and distressed policy correction”, a safe prediction given that since the Climate Change Act was made law in 2008, UK emissions have fallen by just 10% and the UK economy is still 80% dependent on fossil fuels for energy.

  21. prismsuk permalink
    May 11, 2019 9:32 pm

    Can we hold these CCC Goofballs at bay until early/mid 2030. The answer for the UK is to hand, at 1/8th of the cost of a reasonably ‘sensible’ mix of solar pv; onshore wind; offshore wind; CCGT backup.

    Search for: bwrx-300 remember the name

  22. saparonia permalink
    May 15, 2019 4:41 pm

    Carbon dioxide levels can’t be accurately measured, logically a cut of carbon dioxide levels can’t be measured either. however, money has to flow somewhere.

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