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Net Zero mania threatens to derail our lockdown recovery-Rupert Darwall

May 6, 2020

By Paul Homewood


By popular request, Rupert Darwall!!



When economies emerge from the pandemic, aggressive climate policies should be the priority, according to Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and Boris Johnson’s deputy. Sounding like a modern day King Canute, he has urged governments to turn the tide on climate change. "There’s no choice between cutting our emissions and growing our economy," Mr. Raab claims. "That’s a myth the UK has helped to shatter over the past decade."

In fact, the last decade saw Britain rack up its worst productivity performance since the Industrial Revolution. Ministers don’t tell us how we cut them by exporting our industrial base – emissions relating to imports from China are 276pc higher compared to 1997.  The Government can forget about re-shoring vulnerable supply chains as it would push up our emissions.

France’s Emmanuel Macron, by contrast, is a good deal more honest, having described the choice on climate as profound and brutal. Decarbonising inflicts costs on the poorest in society and it shrinks blue-collar job opportunities, worsening the North South regional divide.

Britain legislated its commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero after a mere ninety-minute debate in the House of Commons last June. Unlike the original 2008 Climate Change Act, the Government did not provide an economic impact assessment of net net and its  analysis of the costs, of what it would to do the economy and  an  estimate of the potential climate benefits to Britain.

Lack of scientific and economic rigour and objectivity is par for the course development of net zero and  adoption of  the 1.5°C target. In the run up to the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, the president of the Maldives held the world’s first underwater cabinet meeting to dramatise the threat to low-lying islands from rising sea levels and lobby for the 1.5°C limit and incorporated in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Yet there was no satisfactory scientific basis for the sinking island fable. As Charles Darwin explained in the 1830s, coral atolls are formed by gentle subsidence of the seabed and, surprise, surprise, islands such as the Maldives have seen their land area expand.

After the politicians had decided on the policy, scientists, in the shape of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), were  invited to provide a special report in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

The IPCC had a problem. Its existing 1.5°C carbon budget – the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted to keep global warming from rising  more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels – was all but used up.

Obviously there was no point in agreeing a limit only to have it busted almost immediately.  Helped by computer climate models running too hot and over-predicting warming since 2000, an IPCC lead author admitted, the IPCC found a way of more than doubling the 1.5°C budget and keeping the climate show on the road. Although the IPCC only had medium confidence in its revised 1.5°C budget, it claimed high confidence that emissions had to reach net zero by 2050.

Perhaps that’s because the IPCC sees net zero as providing, it says, the opportunity for "intentional societal transformation" and makes little secret of its ideological hostility to capitalism and economic growth. Like the government, the IPCC doesn’t put a price tag on net zero, but the few numbers it produces are eye-popping, with costs ranging up to sixty times the hypothetical climate benefits estimated by the Obama administration.

Indeed, the IPCC concedes that net zero will hit the world’s poor hard with higher food prices and delay the transition to clean cooking, one of the biggest causes of avoidable deaths in poorer countries. There is no ethical, economic or social justification for such policy overkill and its immense destruction of human welfare.

Fortunately net zero isn’t going to happen whatever politicians here might think. The West’s pre-pandemic emissions account for around one quarter of global emissions. Buying into net zero will turn Europe into a continent of zombie economies, but the rest of the world isn’t going to follow.

The Prime Minister has only one chance to ensure rapid and sustained economic recovery from the lockdown – and that is to scrap every obstacle that stands in the way of economic growth, the biggest of all being the net zero climate noose. If he fails, he and his government will be toast, his political career be ruined and the Conservatives will be remembered for this policy-made economic disaster. Keeping Boris’s commitment to net zero won’t be pretty.

  1. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 6, 2020 11:47 am

    Tell the BBC, the propaganda shift to promote the ‘green recovery’ from the virus is firmly underway today on BBC news and 5Live etc.

    Did ‘they’ deliberately use the virus as the opportunity to unnecessarily destroy the economy and rebuild it in the image of the ‘green new deal’? Is the Pope a climate alarmist!

    We are witnessing a coup.

    • Jackington permalink
      May 6, 2020 12:14 pm

      Lord Gummer on “Today” this mng very upbeat about how all the jobs lost to Covid crisis can be replaced by the implimation of the Net Zero carbon by 2050 programme at minimal cost. Hurrah, It’s all right for some!

      • May 6, 2020 12:26 pm

        Wouldn’t trust that idiot to tell me whether it was night or day!

    • leitmotif permalink
      May 6, 2020 2:17 pm

      Could not find a mention of “Planet of the Humans” on the BBC website even though it has currently had 6.5 million views on youtube.

  2. Harcourt permalink
    May 6, 2020 12:34 pm

    Lord Gummer – the chair of the Climate Change Committee – who said on BBC Radio Today programme in 2018 that a community were not allowed by the Govt to build a local wind farm if they wished. He had to be corrected (but not by the interviewer – I think John Humphrys) that they were indeed allowed to build a wind farm except there would be no subsidies! How can such ignorance provide any credence to his statements on renewable energy and his understanding of the UK’s unrealistic and damaging attempts to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050.


  3. May 6, 2020 12:50 pm

    “Britain legislated its commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero”

    Why “net” zero and not just plain old zero? What does net zero mean?

    • May 6, 2020 1:00 pm

      The death of our Country, then Boris can sell it to China for pennies!

      • May 6, 2020 2:03 pm

        Tragic and sad circus of the bizarre. The covid19 of the brain.

    • CheshireRed permalink
      May 6, 2020 1:54 pm

      ‘Net Zero’ means the government will introduce all manner of nonsensical ‘carbon offset’ schemes, to pretend they’re delivering ‘Net Zero’ emissions.

      Rest assured it will ALL be weapons-grade BS but will also makes shedloads of money for the right people.

      • May 6, 2020 2:01 pm

        Thank you sir for that lucid and frank explanation of it all.

      • Roger Cole permalink
        May 6, 2020 4:30 pm

        Spot on.

      • May 6, 2020 6:46 pm

        A typo here? For right best read wrong.

    • Sobaken permalink
      May 6, 2020 3:23 pm

      Actual plain zero would mean no usage of carbon energy whatsoever, which is impossible unless all non-electric industry (cement, steel, chemicals, plastics) and transport (ships, planes) are closed down, and everything convertible to electric (conventional cars, heating, etc) is converted and powered by non-carbon electricity. Nobody’s going to attempt this impossible feat, obviously.
      What they’ll do instead, is claim that they are creating negative emissions by planting forests, restoring peatlands, using biomass, or whatever else.
      Net zero means that this assumed absorption of carbon from the air is equal to continued emissions from industry and transport, so they cancel out.
      However, as noted above, these schemes will most likely be fraudulent and won’t achieve any real carbon absorption on the proposed scale, so it’s all just creative accounting.

      • May 7, 2020 7:17 am

        Yes sir. Good way to sum it all up.
        Creative Accounting.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      May 6, 2020 6:20 pm

      Means whatever is emitted, has to be balanced out by tree planting, etc

      • May 7, 2020 5:18 am

        Yes sir. And since this is a planetary matter not bounded by national boundaries, the tree planting or similar actions thought to reduce atmos CO2 will do, as for example accruing carbon credits by investing in mangrove forest preservation in Bangladesh or simply purchasing those carbon credits in the carbon credits market. The pretentions to high environmental standards of the climate action movement is undone by their methods. The unregulated and undisciplined carbon credits market, for example.

  4. Athelstan. permalink
    May 6, 2020 12:52 pm

    Dear God in his heaven, going further down the green dead end? It immediately puts to death any faint idea of real economic recovery!

    Furthermore that twit Dominic Raab has had ample opportunity recently to demonstrate his evident unsuitability to any sort of high office – bloke’s off his rocker. Ecomental, as are most of bozo’s dimwit close circle, one wonders is boris’s ‘other half’ actually running some major facets not least the madness – Agenda zero carbon industrial suicide?

  5. Broadlands permalink
    May 6, 2020 12:56 pm

    “…. commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero”?

    All anyone need do is to look at the damage the corona virus has done to society and economies by forcing a rapid cutting of carbon fuel emissions in transportation alone. Why would anyone want to renew that commitment once the pandemic recedes? That can only make the situation worse and the climate will be unaffected. Zero brainpower and common sense is what is threatening us.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      May 6, 2020 7:44 pm

      Of course, Broadlands, it only needs Rishi to cut the furlough payments (to zero) to make people realise that ‘net zero’ is not a happy place to be. But then again, the CC extremists should try explaining to them that they are saving 1Deg of warming.

  6. May 6, 2020 1:35 pm

    But they do not realise just how much the cost will be if they even try, Industry departs or folds up, and the Country loses a vast amount of money. A bit like another dodgy idea, trying for zero Carbon, basically impossible, but would ruin the Countryside. That should get up the greenies nose pretty well.

    • May 6, 2020 1:37 pm

      They do not care.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 6, 2020 2:03 pm

      The politicians, whether green or not, need to be reminded that there is a difference between zero emissions and net-zero. Zero carbon means no further use of carbon for energy. Net-zero requires the quantitative balancing by removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Negative emission technology! Net-zero is quite impossible in the huge amounts needed to make a difference to the climate. A very costly experiment doomed to failure for not recognizing that neither can work.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      May 6, 2020 3:27 pm

      “Ruin the countryside”? But didn’t you know – before we can save Nature, we first have to destroy it?

  7. ThinkingScientist permalink
    May 6, 2020 1:53 pm

    “If he fails, he and his government will be toast, his political career be ruined and the Conservatives will be remembered for this policy-made economic disaster. Keeping Boris’s commitment to net zero won’t be pretty.”

    Except that there is no rational alternative to vote for. The Labour party are following the same mantra, as are the LibDems. With the Conservatives now in thrall to Net Zero 2050 we are heading the way of Australia: ruinous policies supported by all the main parties with no way out for the voters. Except revolution, maybe?

  8. May 6, 2020 1:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    As if coronavirus won’t nobble the UK economy enough, climate dogma mandated by the government is ready and waiting to finish the job. Fools.

  9. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 6, 2020 2:00 pm

    We must wait for the fall in atmospheric CO2 to say below 400ppm that will accompany this Thunbergian deindustrialisation. If it doesn’t appear, it’s back to the drawing board for the alarmist cult. I have £1000 that it won’t. Takers?

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 6, 2020 2:12 pm

      That would take geological time. For humans to lower the atmosphere back to 400 ppm would mean the capture and storage of 15 ppm…about 117 billion metric tons of CO2…almost four gigatons a year over 30 years. The cost? Multiply 117 billion by current estimates per-ton. Any takers?

  10. Dave Ward permalink
    May 6, 2020 2:11 pm

    “If he fails, he and his government will be toast”

    They will be anyway. Bojo needs to remember that he only got to No10 thanks to lots of “Swing” voters – mainly in Northern, formerly Liebour, constituencies. If those voters suffer massive job losses (which seem almost certain the way things are going) he won’t get their support next time. And he most definitely won’t get support from previous Conservative leaning voters like me. Throughout history, Socialism has always tried to exert ever more control over the population, whilst simultaneously running out of their money, and yet we now have the Conservatives doing a far better job!

    • May 7, 2020 9:44 am

      I am seriously becoming sceptical that we have any “conservatives” anywhere, it is or should be a party of conservation, as it’s name implies, but is of course nothing like that.

  11. Wellers permalink
    May 6, 2020 2:36 pm

    On the Ferguson affair: his lover was an extreme climate activist. One wonders whether his advice was influenced by her climate alarmist objective of shutting down industrial economies, rather than saving lives.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 6, 2020 3:36 pm

      Wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘affair’ was more an XR strategy meeting.

      She seems to be a rep. of AVAAZ which sounds like XR in aims and tactics – it would be a miracle if AVAAZ/XR weren’t in contact with each other or even part of the same entity.

  12. Adrian, East Anglia permalink
    May 6, 2020 2:37 pm

    Slightly o/t, but this Covid business really seems to have ramped up the population of experts. Every time I switch on the tv there seems to be another dozen or so that we’ve never heard of. There must be more professors per square metre now than since records began. Big question though: if we’ve got so many experts, why are we in such a bloody mess??

    • Dave Ward permalink
      May 6, 2020 2:49 pm

      “Big question though: if we’ve got so many experts, why are we in such a bloody mess??”

      Because, contrary to the oft quoted figure, 97% of them DO NOT agree…

      • Adrian, East Anglia permalink
        May 6, 2020 3:03 pm

        Dave, thank you for that! Now I understand!!!

      • john cooknell permalink
        May 6, 2020 3:31 pm

        Experts on their own express uncertainty and doubt, put them together and instead of uncertainty and doubt increasing, it just disappears.

        I gave up long ago.

      • May 7, 2020 1:19 pm

        Simple, our Government uses the wrong People to advise it, ie Ferguson, got everything wrong. If you cannot get the right Person for a particular Office, you should not have the job. Too many appear to be unable to see through the dross that comes through the so called Employees Agents.

  13. Wellers permalink
    May 6, 2020 3:46 pm

    Beware of dodgy models:

    …especially from Imperial College!

  14. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 6, 2020 4:01 pm

    BBC Main news page has a Planet Matters segment inserted. FRONT PAGE.

    Can CV spur a green recovery.
    CV 5 charts about the biggest carbon crash.
    CV and climate change a double crisis.
    A simple guide to climate change.
    More than 3bn could live in extreme heat by 2070.

    Disgraceful propaganda/bias.

  15. Rollo Benz permalink
    May 6, 2020 6:51 pm

    Raab seemed such a sensible, brainy and capable guy, -right until he came out with this insanity!!

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