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Cost Of Net Zero Will Be ‘Astronomical,’ New Reports Warn

February 24, 2020

By Paul Homewood


Two new GWPF analyses reveal the true cost of going net zero:


The cost of reaching the government’s “Net Zero” target will be astronomical for the UK economy. That’s according to analysis by two new reports published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

The reports find that decarbonising the electricity system and domestic housing in the next three decades will cost over £2.3 trillion pounds. The final bill will surpass £3 trillion, or £100,000 per household, once the cost of decarbonising major emitting sectors like manufacturing, transport and agriculture are included.

This is the equivalent of a £100 billion HS2 project every single year.

According to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) the costs for Net Zero in 2050 are ‘manageable’: “…we estimate an increased annual resource cost to the UK economy from reaching a net-zero [greenhouse gas] target that will rise to around 1–2% of GDP by 2050.”

Yet, the CCC has resisted attempts to have its calculations disclosed under FOI legislation. Even more remarkably, it has admitted that it has not actually calculated a cost for the period 2020–2049. The decision by Parliament to undertake the complete decarbonisation of the UK economy is thus uncosted.

According to GWPF director Benny Peiser, the two new studies represent the first meaningful attempts to pin down the cost of net zero:

“Although the Committee on Climate Change claims that net zero can be achieved at modest cost, they have now quietly admitted that they have not actually prepared any detailed costing. Unfortunately, Parliament seems to have taken them at their word, and we are now embarked on a project that risks to bankrupt the country.”

Note for editors:

GWPF has today released a series of papers on the cost of Net Zero.

The Future of GB Electricity Supply: Security, Cost and Emissions in a Net-zero System, by former grid engineers Colin Gibson and Capell Aris, reports on a detailed costing exercise based around National Grid’s low-carbon scenarios, which deliver emissions close to net zero by 2050. The estimated cost of this project alone will be over £2 trillion.

Decarbonising Housing: The net zero fantasy, by Professor Michael Kelly FRS, looks at the problems of decarbonising domestic heat and concludes that retrofitting insulation to homes is a fool’s errand.

There is also a short introductory paper, £3 Trillion and Counting, which provides a brief summary of the two news GWPF papers and considers the implications for consumers.

A briefing entitled Reducing Emissions without Breaking the Bank covers new technologies that might deliver reduced greenhouse gas emissions at considerably lower cost.

  1. Harry Passfield permalink
    February 24, 2020 12:19 pm

    I expect Harrabin will be reporting on this in the BBC News… No?

  2. johnbillscott permalink
    February 24, 2020 12:40 pm

    Getting rod of Deben’s CCC quango should be the first order of business by Boris. Deben is raking in millions – but no conflict of interest there. The zero nonsense initiated by May in the dying days of her useless government as her Legacy Project was her get back to the public. Until we have solved the problems of cold fusion there is no way forward although the eco nuts will shortly no doubt discover that perpetual motion would be the ultimate great solution.

    • johnbillscott permalink
      February 24, 2020 12:43 pm

      Should have been rid of Deben’s……. taking a rod to the stupid politicians would be a good idea till they smarten up.

  3. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 24, 2020 12:44 pm

    No indebted country is ever likely to be able to pay off its debts (especially the UK). At some point the whole financial system will be reset. So I’m not concerned about the financial cost, that battle is lost, does it matter how many £Trillions the UK is notionally in debt when everything collapses?

    The real heinous nature of futile supposed action to fight climate change is the assault on democracy, individual freedom, national sovereignty, quality of life, the real destruction of the environment, and the millions of lives that will be cut short.

    • bobn permalink
      February 24, 2020 1:38 pm

      Mr Grim, I agree that our western economy which runs on a system of Social Creditism (Capitalism was abandoned) is now in such a sea of printed debt that it will not be recoverable and global national debt defaults will occur with the resulting destruction of fiat currency savings. How to insure against it? Own real assets – land and machinery, and own Gold and precious metals that Govts cant print. I started my portfolio of Gold mining stocks 8yrs ago and its now up over 250%. Stock markets are having a well predicted fall now from the virus Black Swan, but my gold portfolio is having a nice day of increasing value.
      In about 2 years time when the coming recession troughs and the Green war on fossil fuel companies has beaten down oil company shares to the bargain basement it will be time to buy them big time. Might even sell some gold in 2yrs time to buy the oilers.
      Markets are driven by emotion and hysteria, not data and facts, (just like AWG science!) so by seeing where the stupid hysterics are creating distortions is where you see opportunities to buy value.

  4. GeoffB permalink
    February 24, 2020 12:48 pm

    Some would argue that it is a small price to pay to save the planet….Others, like me, will see it as “tilting at windmills”. How many MSM will run with the GWPF press release? Looking forward to the report from the “Citizens Assembly” on the subject, also looking forward to XR’s 40 days of protest starting on 26th February..Ash Wednesday. Just hoping for some power cuts with the cold weather. The general public are beginning to see chinks in the green loonies rants and raves,

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      February 24, 2020 1:18 pm

      Planet will be fine. I’m starting to think humanity is too stupid to survive, though.

  5. February 24, 2020 12:59 pm

    The futility of this project is only exceeded by the stupidity and ignorance of those who proposed it!

  6. ianprsy permalink
    February 24, 2020 1:14 pm

    I keep saying this, and I’m not sorry – this is all based on the cost of HOW, not the question of whether any activity would make any practical difference to the climate.

  7. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    February 24, 2020 1:16 pm

    This is beyond stupid. It is irrational insanity. Fanaticism is redoubling your efforts while losing sight of your objectives.

  8. cajwbroomhill permalink
    February 24, 2020 1:25 pm

    The only real benefit of a Citizen’s Assembly” would be the opportunity of training a group of resonsible citizens how to teach a lesson to climate alarmists set in the stocks, without causing fatal injuries.

  9. Mad Mike permalink
    February 24, 2020 1:33 pm

    These 2 reports do address the costs of Government policy and so I went back to the Absolute Zero report to Government highlighted here on 21st Feb to see what they said on costings. Guess what, no reference to cost at all that I could find but plenty of “coulds’, “possibilities” and “hopes” It’s good now to get some costs on the board and they are horrendous. What else should we expect from such a disruptive change in our society.

    A rather chilling passage from Absolute Zero under the energy storage section.

    “Wind and solar power are intermittent, so create a challenge of matching the availability of electricity supply to demand for its use. This can be addressed by storage (for example by batteries or the pumped hydro-station at Dinorwig) or by controlling demand to match availability, for example by allowing network operators to decide when domestic appliances and industrial processes can operate. There are already many developments in this area in the UK, and we assume that they can operate at sufficient scale in 2050 to prevent the need for excess generation.”

    So its batteries, hydro or rationing. 3 day week anyone.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      February 24, 2020 1:48 pm

      Hence the ‘smart’ meters and the enthusiasm for the ‘internet of things’ where all your appliances can be controlled remotely.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 24, 2020 11:56 pm

      That shows they simply haven’t done the sums. We would need some 30TWh of storage just for our present electricity demand patterns if we rely on wind solar and nuclear. When it was built in the 1970s, Dinorwig cost £425m. It stores 9.1GWh when full. 30TWh would be £1.4 trillion worth of storage in 1970s money. Double it at least to allow for highly seasonal demand and all the extra electricity required. Then inflate to present day: multiply by a factor of at least 5. So that’s £14 trillion on storage alone, assuming you can find the sites.

      30TWh of batteries would be even more insane.

  10. GeoffB permalink
    February 24, 2020 2:43 pm

    I have had a chance to look through the GWPF documents, not a detailed study, that will take some time. In general they appear to be fairly realistic analysis of the cost of achieving net zero carbon emissions in heating and electricity. (no mention of transport) however they are technically well beyond most people and certainly way beyond the ability of any journalist to comprehend (and I include Johnson and Gove in this observation).
    However they focus on reducing CO2 emissions. My argument has always been that CO2 is the elixir of life for Earth, Photosynthesis in plants with H2O and CO2 producing all of our food, the more CO2 the more food.
    On the other hand we have the demonisation of CO2 as a pollutant i.e something undesirable, this is based on the theory that increased CO2 in the atmosphere causes the temperature of the Earth to rise and if left unchecked will cause catastrophic destruction of just about everything. My understanding is, more CO2 causes more warming is just a theory, so would the GWPF not be better off debunking the theory of CO2 causing warming, then we do not need to do anything. Problem gone away,

  11. annbanisher permalink
    February 24, 2020 3:04 pm

    This will turn out the same way all the other grand ideas of ideological purity in history turn out.
    Killing the witches did not make a difference in the weather of the time.
    Getting rid of intellectuals in Cambodia did not institute a great equality.
    Eliminating the white farmers did not prevent famine in Rhodesia

    Net zero emissions is the equivalent of the perpetual motion machine. It exists only in the minds of the believers.
    The reality is solar, wind, and batteries are the most resource intensive – with the shortest life span – of any energy system, with the most habitat destruction. It is the equivalent of Russian roulette, except there are no empty chambers.

  12. February 24, 2020 3:40 pm

    I just sent this email to my MP:

    Dear Mr Efford.

    As the “Climate Crisis” has been determined to be the major issue faced by the UK, I am sure you are well briefed on the government’s plans to achieve NetZero by 2050, and fully aware of the cost that will face all households to achieve this. The Committee on Climate Change has without doubt presented parliament with a very detailed cost/benefit analysis which should be available to all voters? However, it seems impossible to obtain apart from vague general statements by Lord Deben.

    However, some new reports have now been published by some highly qualified specialists in the field:

    Click to access FESnetzero.pdf

    Click to access KellyNetZero-2.pdf

    and a summary:

    Click to access ThreeTrillion-1.pdf

    The conclusions are frankly terrifying amounting to the cost of an HS2 every year for the next 30 years! I trust you and your fellow MPs will quiz the CCC on their own supposedly detailed analysis.

    Best Regards, your constituent:

  13. Steve permalink
    February 24, 2020 4:56 pm

    Having had a chance to skip read the appraisal of the proposals for the electricity supply and the alternatives, the GWPF report is technically competent and thorough, unlike the Technical Report by Gummer”s academics and their unqualified highly paid CEO. The refusal to reveal their costings and lack of them is not surprising. It is interesting that these two engineers have concluded that more nuclear is needed and not less, as the CCC are happy to accept while the need for a huge amount of storage, needed for two weeks during a winter lull when the 59% of offshore wind and solar are missing, is still not addressed.

    Neither is the cost of the proposed steam reforming of more natural gas than we use today into hydrogen. The CCC propose that this will be used for industry, HGVs, shipping and peaking. Industry is to be rearranged into ‘clusters’ and some domestic heating will be by hydrogen using hybrid heat pumps. How much is all this going to cost the customer? The CCC is clear that industry cannot pay and that the cost will fall on the customer and taxpayer.

    This must be in addition to the huge cost estimated for three times the generation of electricity and the realistic cost of converting housing estimated by Prof Kelly, to which the cost of converting industrial and commercial buildings must be added.

    The lack of questioning by politicians and most of the media is surprising, even accepting their lack of technical ability. Surely some of them must read energy and climate blogs.

    A comparison of the conclusion reached by the well qualified late Prof Mackay and the GWPF and Gummer’s experts in hopefulness is in the link at the top.

  14. February 24, 2020 7:32 pm

    £100,000 per household – which isn’t going to work, because many millions of people in the UK don’t have that kind of money, even after it’s annualised or whatever.

  15. nigel penford permalink
    February 24, 2020 11:34 pm

    The UK generates 1.2% of the world co2 on a bad day, so getting to zero if at all possible will be a waste of time and money, the rest of the world co2 contributions go up triple that each year. We import goods from factories around the world that generate co2 in production/transportation. To make any difference we should only use/purchase goods/food with a low or nil carbon footprint. At the present time we have exported our emissions to other countries buying goods with a high carbon footprint , a good example is Australia a green country exporting coal for others to burn while trying to generate all its power in a zero manner. Exporting your co2 foot print is not unlike sending your waste for someone else to deal with.

  16. February 25, 2020 8:21 pm

    Many times I have been asked – why would alarmists push their agenda as there is no financial incentive for them. Look again, not only is it not “no-incentive”, it’s actually the mother of all incentives. There are organizations that would do atrocious things for that kind of money including all forms of bodily harm. This is big, big money.

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