Skip to content

UK Net Zero Emissions Target Will ‘Cost More Than £1 Trillion’

June 6, 2019

By Paul Homewood


h/t Robin Guenier


From GWPF:



In a letter to the prime minister seen by the Financial Times, the chancellor said the cost meant that less money would be available for schools, police, hospitals and other areas of public spending. He also warned that the target would render some industries “economically uncompetitive” without huge government subsidies.

Mrs May, whose tenure as prime minister will end next month, is hoping the carbon emissions legislation will be one of her most important legacies after she leaves office.

The 2050 net zero target — one of the most ambitious in the world — was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body. “Net zero” means that any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of carbon from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology.

Mr Hammond warned in his letter — sent last week — about the implications of going ahead with the new target, which is much tighter than the UK’s current policy of cutting emissions by 80 per cent over the same period.

The CCC has estimated that reaching net zero will cost £50bn a year, but the department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy puts the figure at £70bn, according to the chancellor’s letter. “On the basis of these estimates, the total cost of transitioning to a zero-carbon economy is likely to be well in excess of a trillion pounds,” he wrote.

He added that reaching the net zero target would require heating to be almost entirely decarbonised, leaving households having to replace gas boilers with alternatives such as heat pumps, which cost “three times more”. Homeowners would also need to spend thousands or tens of thousands of pounds on insulation.

Although the 2050 target is backed by some business leaders, Mr Hammond argued that industry would face “significant costs” from shifting to low-carbon processes. He pointed out that unless competitor countries adopted the same policy, the shift could render “key industries” — such as the steel industry — economically uncompetitive or dependent on permanent government support.

The letter said there would also need to be significant changes to farming practice and a total ban on petrol and diesel cars by 2050, along with a tenfold increase in electric charging points.

  1. HotScot permalink
    June 6, 2019 10:48 am

    All the more reason to get Nigel Farage to run the country and dispense with the CCA.

    • June 6, 2019 11:33 am

      Agree. All out for the Brexit Party and drain that Westminster swamp.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 6, 2019 1:30 pm

        The Brexit Party will self-destruct as soon as a General Election is called since the disperate – also desperate – bunch won’t be able to put forward a manifesto they can all agree on. As for the ‘talent’ of Farage, he makes the lying oaf Johnson appear competent.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        June 6, 2019 7:22 pm

        Oh look, someone doesn’t like the Brexit Party and really doesn’t like Mr Farage.
        I don’t suppose he likes President Trump either.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        June 6, 2019 8:10 pm

        Gerry – how much do we know about the PPCs TBP have lined up in their more winnable seats?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 12, 2019 1:43 pm

        I love Donald Trump because he alone can end climate change and he also does what he promises. He is also competent which is not a label you can apply to Farage. After all these years how many seats have UKIP ever won in a GE? NONE! And this fool was also set against using a referendum to leave the EU – his plan was to do it when UKIP formed their first government!

  2. Robin Guenier permalink
    June 6, 2019 10:50 am

    It’s particularly depressing (see the full text in the “businesstelegraph” link) that Mrs May plans net-zero by 2050 legislation as her “legacy” and that Johnson has said that, if he became PM, he would “enforce the net-zero target”.

    • HotScot permalink
      June 6, 2019 12:06 pm

      You can be sure that if May is expecting net zero by 2050, it’s another one of her disastrous blunders and every sane individual in the country should recognise it.

      BoJo is a treacherous clown only interested in his own career ambitions.

      He is what every informed individual in the country hates most, a journalist and a politician. Short of adding a law qualification he couldn’t be a less appropriate person to run the country. But it seems the Conservative party, safe in their elitist bunkers, are oblivious to this.

      And they probably imagine that by backing this buffoon they are appealing to ordinary people. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      • Robin Guenier permalink
        June 6, 2019 12:11 pm

        Unfortunately there seem to be few sane or informed people in the country these days.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        June 6, 2019 1:32 pm

        Certainly none anywhere near parliament. Rory Stewart seem to have a bit of life in his brain but has no chance of winning the PM job.

      • Colin Brooks permalink
        June 6, 2019 6:24 pm

        Stewart is the worst candidate of all but fortunately he is going nowhere fast.

      • Bertie permalink
        June 7, 2019 9:42 am

        John Redmond

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 6, 2019 10:53 am

    Typical government incompetence, he’s missed off at least 1 more zero!

  4. June 6, 2019 11:31 am

    Reblogged this on Climate- Science.

  5. June 6, 2019 11:32 am

    The government can always find the money. I suspect that it is hiding behind a filing cabinet in the Treasury. Drain that swamp.

  6. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 6, 2019 12:34 pm

    So don’t the same issues apply to the 80% target? Or is it only the last 20% that will be massively expensive and destroy key industries? I can see the last bit being more expensive proportionately, but four times a expensive?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 6, 2019 1:14 pm

      Ah well, governments don’t understand the Pareto principle.

  7. Jackington permalink
    June 6, 2019 12:40 pm

    Look on the sunny side, we’re off to a good start already with B Steel closing at Scunthope and now the Ford engine plant closing at Bridgend just think of the CO2 savings there and S*d Scunthope and B****r Bridgend communities. we’re saving the planet regardless of cost.

    • June 6, 2019 1:36 pm

      Except they’re not saving anything bar their own future notoriety as climate fools.

    • Mack permalink
      June 6, 2019 8:16 pm

      Good point. In all the MSM news reports I’ve seen concerning the demise of British Steel and now the Ford plant at Bridgend, the elephant in the room seems to have barely merited any attention, namely climate change policies that lead to either uncompetitive energy costs or the impending (and intentional) demise of petrol/diesel engines by European diktat. Why would you bother making anything in the UK if the costs of production were higher than the ultimate sale price or your intended market was being denied to you? What you reap you sow.

  8. roger permalink
    June 6, 2019 1:14 pm

    Enjoy self harming?
    Vote Conservative!
    You know it makes sense.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      June 7, 2019 10:10 pm

      Enjoy harming the UK?
      Cancel Brexit by voting Labour.
      You know it makes no sense.

  9. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 6, 2019 1:15 pm

    No mention of the considerable additional expenditure, over and above the cost of insulation, in ensuring that the building is fit to be insulated. The number of horror stories about damp in recently insulated houses (largely with poorly applied cavity-wall materials) is legion.

    Nobody, as far as I know, has surveyed the number of properties where, for whatever reason, insulation would be impractical or ruinously expensive. An architect acquaintance of mine, based on his knowledge of the industry, guessed (and he agreed it could be no more than a guess for obvious reasons) that anything up to 10% of UK housing stock could become “unfit for human habitation” if the Building Standards code was amended to meet the insulation level apparently being demanded by the CCC.

    The situation in public buildings would, he reckoned, be even worse and the costs would be crippling.

    I liked his only quotable remark: “We don’t need to worry about global warming. At this rate we’ll have impoverished ourselves to the point of penury long before any temperature increase becomes dangerous, if it ever does!”

  10. Douglas Brodie permalink
    June 6, 2019 5:57 pm

    Believers in alleged dangerous man-made climate change are so blinkered by their obsession that they simply don’t see that their absurdly over-hyped cause is hurtling towards a humiliating collision with reality. Climate-obsessed politicians are taking the electorate (and themselves) for fools over their irresponsible fantasy of achieving net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. By going along with this totally infeasible UN IPCC proposal our politicians are demonstrating that they have lost all touch with reality.

    Their irresponsible, self-indulgent virtue signalling over net-zero emissions shows that a wholesale clearout of most of our incumbent parliamentary representatives is long overdue, the sooner the better before they do any further damage to our economy and energy infrastructure, hopefully to be replaced by common sense, apolitical rationalists from the Brexit Party.

    For more arguments against the net-zero emissions plan see

    • Mack permalink
      June 6, 2019 9:34 pm

      Amen to that!

    • I_am_not_a_robot permalink
      June 6, 2019 11:08 pm

      It has developed into a millenarian-type cult with followers who are impervious to logical argument similar to the Fifth Monarchists during the Interregnum and is therefore self-limiting in one way or another.

    • charles wardrop permalink
      June 7, 2019 8:24 am

      We can make only token reductions in greenhouse gases, since our UK output is trivial at 1.13% of the world total CO2.
      Therefore, we could and should forget going green entirely..
      That is the only realistic policy.
      Pres. Trump is right.

  11. In the Real World permalink
    June 6, 2019 8:00 pm

    Report in 2016 by a Parliamentary committee said that if houses were insulated up to the standard of Austrian homes , [ so quite a few £Billion there ] , then it would only take another 200 GWh of generated electricity to heat them by electric .

    So that adds up to another 50 odd Hinckley Cs , [ £20 billion each , ] which makes £1trillion , & probably the same again to upgrade the Grid .
    And that is just for housing without adding on electric transport .

    So their figure of just 1 Trillion is , [ as usual ], total BS .

  12. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 6, 2019 8:28 pm

    A few weeks ago (it takes so long!) I wrote to Claire Perry about the ‘zero-carbon’ target. I asked her:

    You have remarked on (in a letter to me, no less) the fact that ‘the UK is a world leader in cutting emissions and that we have managed to cut them by 42% since 1990. That being the case, have you any evidence that that – near 50% – cut has had any effect on global temperatures, or that doubling that amount so that we achieve ‘net-zero carbon’ by 2035/2050 will make any other significant difference. The point being, if our effect, so far, on global temperatures is nothing then our doubling the cut in UK emissions will be double that: Nothing! (Please, you will only insult my intelligence by telling me that where we lead, others will follow: China? India? Do you really think they will follow our lead??)

    The UK is responsible for approximately 1 to 1.5% of global emissions of CO² (which is not, as the new meme is also trying to define, a pollutant), so reducing our emissions to ZERO (it won’t actually be zero, and you know that) will hardly make a dent in the so-called problem of climate change/global warming. It will, IMO, help to impoverish this country and make it a poor relation of those states – China, India, Russia – who will not bother to follow suit. They will continue to pump out their CO² emissions and laugh at our concerns. For instance, how do you really plan – in law – to close down UK car factories that don’t chose to make EVs? How do you propose to stop UK citizens from importing and running ICE cars? Will you make a law that those who do should be imprisoned for breaking your law? Furthermore, how will you control the use of older (more polluting) cars?

    Notwithstanding that climate change is, at most, a natural effect (and the rest is still debatable – but you won’t debate it), there is nothing this country can do to mitigate that effect. I know you know it, and I know – I suspect – that you have ulterior motives for wanting the population to believe it to be a threat. That said, whatever you persist in wishing for will only end up with the UK being beggared and reduced to incredible debt, further enhanced by an extreme left-wing Labour/Green government (where. ironically, you could actually find a home!).

    She has now got her minion, Chris Skidmore to respond on her behalf. He is obviously a partaker of the Kool-Aid, He writes (I have precis’d his letter):

    I am grateful for your views on climate change, but the scientific evidence is clear that climate change is happening now and is being largely driven by human activity. Left unchecked, climate change will impact on many aspects of our society. It will bring risks to human health, global food prices and economic development. Because of these risks, the government believes urgent domestic and international action is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    The government bases our position on evidence published in peer-reviewed scientific literature, as well as comprehensive assessments produced by experts such as the the IPCC. The IPCC’s October 2018 report on GW of 1.5 Deg C set out sobering conclusions on the risks posed by a warming planet. That is why we asked for new advice from our independent experts, the CCC, on the implications of the Paris Agreement for the UK’s long term emissions reduction targets, including our setting a net-zero target.
    (a load of fluff followed)
    I strongly believe it is possible to combat climate change whilst growing our economy. We published the Clean Growth Strategy in 2017, which focuses on areas where we get clear joint benefits, such as lower energy bills from improved energy efficiency and creating high-value jobs.

    How the hell do these people get a job? I wouldn’t employ them to empty dustbins – and I have a lot more respect for the men who do so round my neck of the woods. Skidmore and his boss, Perry, really think their government can control the weather.

    • Douglas Brodie permalink
      June 7, 2019 9:04 am

      It’s impossible to make these politicians see sense, as impossible as arguing with the most rabid commenters on the Guardian’s environmental pages. I’ve tried sending blanket emails to backbenchers in the hope that they might put pressure on ministers but that gets nowhere either, especially when most backbenchers are equally loony such as this bunch of 179 MPs pushing for net-zero emissions, see

    • dave permalink
      June 7, 2019 10:21 am

      There seems to be an unconscious, odd, belief, among enthusiasts, that “by doing OUR bit” we can stop at least stop climate change HERE. How that is congruent in the mind with feelings of imminent GLOBAL catastrophe is a murky, cognitive issue.

      I have even heard of people who think that global sea-level changes can be stopped – locally!

  13. John F. Hultquist permalink
    June 6, 2019 8:54 pm

    I’d like to be around in 2050 to see how this works out.
    With incredibly good luck and medical wizardly I might make it to 2040.
    2050 will be a lot clearer in 2040 than it is today. So, I’ll try for that.
    In the USA, Trump punched the pause button, at least for 2 more years.
    If he is replaced by one of the Dems in January of 2021, the US will follow the UK through a Maelstrom of Saltstraumen (figuratively).

  14. Up2snuff permalink
    June 6, 2019 9:00 pm

    More reality hitting the rotary ventilation aid . . . . ….

    and some reality for Philip Hammond: “Will remaining in the EU, as you really wish, make those costs greater – or if we leave the EU completely and cleanly, can we take measures to reduce those costs?

  15. Stephen Lord permalink
    June 6, 2019 11:06 pm

    Well hopefully her failure to get Brexit will lead to a failure to do this too. Thank God we have Trump in the USA.

  16. mikewaite permalink
    June 7, 2019 11:35 am

    Ok , lets discuss a deal. It will not please everyone , but everyone gets half of what they say they want .
    Under May’s proposal we have to get rid of all conventional power sources AND convert all transport, public and private, to electric
    Here’s the problem . As many people have calculated on this site, doing both is technically impossible and Hammond (aka “mr spreadsheet”) has demonstrated the financial impossibility.
    So let us have 2 options and vote for one of them:

    1. Close the conventional power stations, rely on renewables, but retain the fuel powered vehicles for those that want them , or, in the case of lorries, tractors , construction equipment, etc, need them and keep gas heating where it is wanted or required for convenience or economy.

    2. Convert to electric vehicles , maybe even subsidise them until prices drop, but retain CCGT, nuclear, even some HELE coal power stations and stop the spread of expensive and inefficient wind and solar.

    I know which I would choose, but lets us all decide. This way we all get a glass half full instead of all of us being faced with total chaos and financial ruin.

  17. Peter Yarnall permalink
    June 7, 2019 11:35 am

    It would not just cost £1 trillion. We are already seeing massive cuts in our manufacturing industries; British Steel, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover and Ford have all had enough of this green nonsense. When all of our manufacturing has moved abroad because of unaffordable energy prices, with no alternative employment prospects, how many billions will we be paying out in benefits with between 5 and 10 million unemployed?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: