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Government ordered to release Net Zero cost calculations

January 21, 2021

By Paul Homewood





This should be interesting!!



In June 2019, some weeks before Parliament adopted the 2050 Net Zero target as law, the then chancellor Philip Hammond wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May, warning that her plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 was likely to cost the UK more than £1 trillion.

In his letter, the chancellor wrote that the costs meant that less funding would be available for schools, the police and hospitals, pointing out that Net Zero would render some industries “economically uncompetitive.” 
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request for the underlying cost calculations of the estimate was refused by the Treasury, arguing that these were “internal communications.” Remarkably, the cost estimate was contained in the body of a single email.

However, the Information Commissioner has now ruled that the public interest was not given sufficient weight in the Treasury’s decision and has ordered the cost calculation’s release [1].

Welcoming the decision, Andrew Montford, deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum said:

This is a major embarrassment for the Treasury. It appears that it cobbled together a few numbers on the back of an envelop, and simply emailed them off to the Prime Minister without a blush. After Parliament’s decision to adopt the Net Zero target without any meaningful scrutiny, and without consideration of the economic and engineering implications, it is becoming clear that the whole project is misgovernance on a historic scale.”

[1] The Commissioner’s Decision Notice ref IC-46878-R8K0, will be published on the ICO website in due course.

  1. January 21, 2021 10:46 am

    It is about time that the government are honest regarding the cost to our economy & the citizens of this country of net zero.

    I am delighted that the information will become available. It is always worth remembering that with any government project the cost usually multiplies many times to what is initially quoted.

    How much is a life worth?

    How many lives will be saved by rushing into net zero?
    How many lives do the climate change models claim will be saved by net zero?
    How many lives are lost already due to fuel poverty? (See Age U.K. figures)
    How many lives will be lost due to uncontrolled fuel poverty which seems to be the ultimate result of the Green revolution and its associated higher fuel costs?
    How many people will become impoverished if all industries vacate our shores due to high energy costs and the subsequent job losses? No jobs means more poverty.
    What if those millions of green jobs do not materialise as most projects so far are owned by foreign entities & they use mainly their own employees?
    What if our economy goes bust just to quench the lust of the green ideologues who do not understand nor care about the consequences of their demands.
    People want to stay alive right now.

    Yes, we need to care for our planet but not destroy human lives in the process.

    Poverty kills. More people die of poverty than they do of climate related disasters.

    Poverty of the masses seems like the ultimate Green goal….

  2. Harry Davidson permalink
    January 21, 2021 10:52 am

    The whole premise of this article is false. You cannot embarrass people who are shameless.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      January 21, 2021 1:26 pm

      But you can try to educate them. I have wondered for some time what might be gained — in practical results as well as publicity — by sending every MP a copy of Michael Shellenberger’s ‘Apocalypse Never’.

      Unfortunately I don’t have the £8K (or thereabouts) that this exercise would cost but if anyone (GWPF?) cares to put such a project into motion I would be happy to chip in. It is the ignorance of elected MPs and the highly-effective, even if mendacious, lobbying by the eco-warriors that is leading us down this path. Unless the sceptics do something to grab headlines (and try to offset Nut-nut’s malign influence on our elected leader) we lose this case by default.

    • January 21, 2021 1:42 pm

      They can and should be put in front of the Public Accounts Committee.

      The Public Accounts Committee examines the value for money of Government projects, programmes and service delivery. Drawing on the work of the National Audit Office the Committee holds government officials to account for the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of public spending.

      economy, efficiency and effectiveness — three nailed-on fails there.

      • John Peter permalink
        January 21, 2021 8:14 pm

        16 members. All MPs. They will all have voted for the net zero CO2 bill. Waste of time.

      • January 21, 2021 8:16 pm

        If they had done anything like that in Germany before the 2 World Wars in Germany, a lot of avoidable, terrible suffering and waste would have been averted.

  3. January 21, 2021 11:08 am

    I see no chance of anyone getting “Zero Carbon”, carbon is a vital part of our planet. Without carbon there would be no green fields, or trees,to say nothing of plants and food. It just shows the ignorance in our schools regretably.

    • January 21, 2021 11:20 am

      Obviously our teaching ‘profession’ has decided that photosynthesis is of no importance when compared with the horrors of not being woke enough.

  4. January 21, 2021 11:13 am

    I heard May had said £3Tn but since the costs of decarbonisation are surely incalculable, that should be admitted.
    The official answer, wrong though it will be, should be sought again, in the context that UK greenhouse gases are entirely negligible because that is what the Establishment want to hide, if they know or think about it.
    If COP26 were to be of any use, very unlikely, this topic would be aired.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 21, 2021 2:50 pm

      May, or rather Hammond, said £1 trillion. A massive underestimate. We have £2 trillion just for insulating the housing stock. Of ourselves the biggest cost will be in reduced living standards. That could run to £1trillion a year, with a halving of GDP.

  5. William Birch permalink
    January 21, 2021 11:15 am

    Pretty clear from the prevarication by the UK Government treasury that they do not want these costs seeing the light of day. Once they are released into the public domain then our elected MPs can not claim they did not know of these costs and hence the likely consequences. Then it is up to us, the UK electorate to vote for the people who will stop this decent into Green poverty for our nation. Needless to say “The Whitehall Mandarins” pushing this crazy agenda and the “Virtue Signalling Eco Politicians” are not very happy at the prospect. BRING IT ON!!!

    • January 21, 2021 6:35 pm

      Hello William,

      In principle you are correct in stating that it is up to the UK electorate to vote for the party or parties that give them the policies that they want. However, there seems to be a major problem in that the Green Alliance managed to get the main UK parties to sign a non-aggression pact in 2015 on climate issues and thereby remove climate policy from democratic debate. For confirmation of these claims please see the following links which I offer with the usual caveats:-
      (i) See the video from the approx. 5 minute mark;
      (ii) See the Green Alliance’s press release here


      • Gas Geezer permalink
        January 21, 2021 10:21 pm

        Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Farage’s new Reform party also keen to emulate green policies ?

  6. ianprsy permalink
    January 21, 2021 11:33 am

    I don’t think HMG will be bothered. The public just isn’t interested and won’t be unless/until the lights go out.

    In a local forum thread, residents were bemoankng the lack of council action in snow clearing, which they, apparently couldn’t afford to do. When I contrasted that frugality with their nonchalant throwing of £4million at virtue-signalling, planet-saving, nobody blinked an eye. There seems to be a big disconnect.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      January 21, 2021 11:59 am

      In the last election I went out canvassing. Not once in 10 days did anybody talk about CC. It was mostly about Brexit but a lot of it was about the characteristics of Boris and Jeza.

  7. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 21, 2021 11:54 am

    They should be made to ‘cost’ the ridiculous CC Act while they’re at it. The sheep-like MPs managed to pass it without any of them (with a few notable exceptions) understanding the costs of it.

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      January 21, 2021 7:32 pm

      I believe the CC Act 2008 was costed, and showed a net negative benefit. I believe the financial impact is required for all primary legislation of this type. Peter Lilley, at the time, read it. He reckons he was probably the only MP that did. Everyone else voted it through without bothering with all that financial malarkey. Who cares about the cost when you are saving the planet and green signaling to the hoi polloi?

  8. miket permalink
    January 21, 2021 11:56 am

    We know it won’t happen, but what the government should also be forced to publish is their calculation for the actual effect of meeting UK Net Zero on global temperatures! I can never understand how people accept all this rubbish when the target is so nebulous.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      January 21, 2021 12:13 pm

      I have friends, I know its difficult to believe but I have, who are both teachers. They have a daughter who graduated from uni last year and one at uni. Talking to them, it is astonishing how little the know about CC apart from what the MSM and Government have told them. They have done zero research and don’t seem all that concerned about the whole matter. The graduate’s lack of knowledge about our history or practically anything we take for granted as basic knowledge is a shock. She didn’t even know that the UK was the instrumental in abolishing slavery and that, being a colonial power, meant that huge slices of the world abolished as well. She was truly surprised. What chance the cost of Net Zero grabbing. the general public’s attention

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        January 21, 2021 12:42 pm

        Would you mind telling me, in which subjects did these new graduates study?

      • Mad Mike permalink
        January 21, 2021 1:06 pm

        You might have guessed. Social media and marketing.

      • Ben Vorlich permalink
        January 21, 2021 3:48 pm

        Social media and marketing.

        Tony Blair has a lot to answer for in sending/encouraging the young to go to university for worthless qualifications and in gaining these qualifications they learn nothing.

      • January 21, 2021 6:02 pm

        It was a win/win/win for Blair; burnishing his ‘cool’ credentials with the ‘yoof’, reducing the youth unemployment rates and leaving someone else to pick up the tab- a load of unemployable adults who paid a shed load of money for worthless degrees.

      • Robert Christopher permalink
        January 22, 2021 12:44 am

        I am relieved that they studied Social media and marketing: if they had studied Physics and History I would have been worried.

        It’s a pity that non-STEM subjects have become so unfashionable. We need some, just not in such large quantities, as it is such a waste of money, time and direction for all concerned. I hope they have been able to put their degree to good use.

    • January 21, 2021 4:04 pm

      Nature Magazine estimated it at a reduction of a single hundredths of a degree based on the most sensitive interpretation of the effects of co2.

    • January 21, 2021 8:28 pm

      @ Miket

      My estimate is that 2100 would be 0.01 K cooler if the UK vanished off the map tomorrow.

  9. Chilli permalink
    January 21, 2021 12:04 pm

    The figures are too astronomical to be relatable to ordinary members of the public. We need to take a leaf out of the green’s book and use relatable units for the costs – eg. N hospitals, N Gulf Wars, x% of all income tax paid in a year etc. And then present the alleged benefits – making the climate a fraction of a degree colder long after we’re all dead.

    • January 21, 2021 2:21 pm

      There is NO PROOF OR EVIDENCE at all of any efficacy of decarbonisation in influencing the climate.
      It’s a much much less reliable predictor than any weather forecast, despite ever more “supercomputers” that meteorologists are needed to make their forecasts reliable.

      How anyone trusts GIGO-twisted computer models beats me.

      • John Peter permalink
        January 21, 2021 8:18 pm

        Certainly not with the UK’s 1% of Global CO2 emissions. Go to China with 30% emissions and growing to preach and get locked up should be the message to the Greens.

    • Vernon E permalink
      January 21, 2021 4:45 pm

      Chilli, why not? For the younger generations we now measure distance in football pitches and volumes in Olympic swimming pools. But where ignoranceis bliss……..

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 21, 2021 7:35 pm

      The trick will be to show that spending all this money on global warming will result in zero hospitals, zero NHS (not such a bad idea), zero schools etc as there will be no money left to fund them. And government income will drop as the jobs disappear so there is even less money to spend.

      Next time the aliens land it won’t just be mashed potato they will find funny – that’s one for the older readers.

  10. Mack permalink
    January 21, 2021 12:10 pm

    I can imagine that the old chancellor, Hammond, had his feet up on his desk one morning with a biro in one hand and a fag packet in the other and had a quick look at May’s ‘Project Unicorn’ net zero plans. He promptly gave up laughing like a drain as he got to the first trillion and stopped counting before even turning to the second page of her report. I think you’ll find that will be the entire extent of H.M. Treasury’s cost/benefit analysis of net zero.

  11. Cheshire Red permalink
    January 21, 2021 12:41 pm

    How about a cost-benefit analysis to consider the actual consequences of our policy?

    UK Net Zero will NOT, in any measurable or practical way;

    * Reduce global human-caused CO2 emissions
    * Reduce global atmospheric concentrations
    * Abate any (real or imagined) man-made global warming
    * Reduce global average surface temperatures

    Therefore in exchange for our multi-trillions Net Zero is *already guaranteed* to have no actual impact on global CO2 concentrations and therefore no impact – real or imagined, on global temperatures.

  12. Jackington permalink
    January 21, 2021 12:47 pm

    The results will be particularly interesting if they are broken down to show how much of the money will be taken from general taxation and how much from new green levies foisted on energy consumers via their bills.

  13. mjr permalink
    January 21, 2021 1:27 pm

    Speaker Lindsay Hoyle also talking out of his nether regions

  14. Howard Lee Christal permalink
    January 21, 2021 1:56 pm

    I cannot speak for the UK, but here is some information regarding our experience in the United States regarding an attempt to reduce carbon emissions to “Save the Planet”:


    According to Bill Gates, not exactly a right-winged zealot: “The cost of using current renewables such as solar panels and windfarms to produce all or most power would be “beyond astronomical”.

    How much would the Biden/Obama administration’s and UN’s vision of a “green” energy world cost? No one knows for sure, BUT THE GOVERNMENT’S (ENVIORNMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY’S) OWN ESTIMATE OF THE COST AND RELATED BENEFITS OF OBAMA’S “CLEAN POWER PLAN” (CPP) ARE AVAILABLE:

    According to EPA figures, the Clean Power Plan would cost the United States $78 Billion per year. In rulemaking documents from April 2010, EPA wrote: “Based on the reanalysis, the results for projected atmospheric CO2 concentrations are estimated to be reduced by an average of 2.9 ppm [parts per million] (previously 3.0 ppm), GLOBAL MEAN TEMPERATURE WAS ESTIMATED TO BE REDUCED BY 0.006 TO 0.0015 ˚C BY 2100.”

    According to the EPA’s own calculations, the previous administration’s “Clean Power Plan”, by the year 2100, will cost the people of the United States six trillion, six hundred and thirty billion dollars ($6,630,000,000,000) and will save, AT BEST, 6/1000ths of 1 degree Celsius by the year 2100.

    To put this number into perspective, the total of U. S. Individual and Corporate income tax collections are expected to be $2.278 trillion ($2,278,000,000,000) for the year 2020, and that is a pre-covid estimate. According to the E.P.A’s own numbers, if we spend all of our income tax collections for the next 3 years, we can save between 1.8/1000ths and 6/1000ths of 1 degree Celsius by the year 2100!!!!


    If you take this cost of saving (via the Clean Power Plan), a meager 6/1000ths of 1 degree C of Global Warming, and interpolate it out to what it would COST TO SAVE 1 degree C, the number is, indeed, “beyond astronomical” …. (A LITTLE MORE THAN 530 TRILLION DOLLARS – $530.400.000,000,000). That would be about 232 years’ worth of all of our personal and corporate income tax revenue expectations for the year 2020!!!!!!

    There is not enough money in the world to successfully fight “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” by reducing mankind’s emissions of CO2.

    Fortunately, EPA’s own climate models show that human emissions of CO2 have not, cannot and will never cause “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming”.

    CO2 is not and will never be the control knob for adjusting the Earth’s temperature.

  15. Joe Public permalink
    January 21, 2021 2:03 pm

    Let’s remind ourselves that the simple exercise of making meters ‘Smart’ spiraled well over its initial budget, and is now 1/2-decade behind it’s 1-decade schedule.

    • January 21, 2021 4:04 pm

      Yup. That’s one the big red flags. If government can’t get that sorted – one plastic boc in one cardboard box delivered to every household, what chances for the entire nation under this madcap scheme?
      Seriously, Westminster should be collectively certified for this gibberish.

    • January 21, 2021 8:30 pm

      If memory serves, this was subject to a series of cost: benefit analyses until one finally went the right way.

  16. Broadlands permalink
    January 21, 2021 2:05 pm

    Net-zero emissions is not the same as zero emissions. Net-zero requires negative emissions. To be permanent, that means industrial CCS technology. Capture and burial of CO2, taken both at the source and from the atmosphere. As far as one can see, no actual number has been identified as a goal from which any cost-benefit analysis might be made…per ton of CO2 captured and stored. Only one global number has been published and that came from NASA’s James Hansen (and activist Bill McKibben). NASA uses the 1987 value of 350 ppm. Currently, that would mean taking 65 ppm from the atmosphere after stopping current emissions (about 40 billion tons last year). That is over 500 gigatonnes of CO2! Completely impossible, regardless of cost per ton. The bottom line? There is no way to estimate the costs of Net-zero for any government that cannot pinpoint their numerical CO2 target in ppm and then estimate cost per ton. Nobody is doing that.

  17. George Lawson permalink
    January 21, 2021 5:54 pm

    Mrs May will have had all the figures at her finger tips when she was in office. Perhaps we could ask her to comment through these columns on the information she has about the costings.

    • January 21, 2021 8:19 pm

      She needs ammo in her battle to beat Dumbo Blair as to who was the worst UK PM ever.

  18. D Fagan permalink
    January 21, 2021 7:48 pm

    What £3 trillion looks like?
    USA spent $4.1 trillion on arms during WW2
    To give a real perspective what that is.

    Tanks 108,000
    Other vehicles 2,300,000
    Artillery 257,000
    Machine guns 2,600,000
    Aircraft 300,000
    Aircraft carriers 124
    Battle Ships 23
    Other warships 900
    Landing craft 35,000
    Liberty Ships 3,000
    Artillery Shells 11 Million tons (= 5 million family cars)
    Rifles & carbines 12 Million
    Bullets 47,000,000,000,000

  19. Peter permalink
    January 22, 2021 2:57 am

    “was likely to cost the UK more than £1 trillion”

    On the positive side, at least the UK has a number. Most countries do not even have an estimate.

    • January 22, 2021 8:55 am

      The uncalulable costs will amount to infinity, all for ntoying in return to us in UK, or the world climate.
      Any number they calculate is an underestimate because infinity cannot be comprehended, let alone afforded!.

  20. January 22, 2021 5:37 am

    I found this just now on twitter written by Alex Epstein. We are clearly on the road to hell now. There is a chance that we can deviate from that road but that is only when ordinary people realise they are about to become very poor, lose their freedoms and any hope for a better future.

    “The Paris Climate Accords is an immoral, self-destructive agreement that on paper commits the US to huge productivity losses in the short term and total economic destruction in the long term. Unfortunately, Joe Biden’s plan to implement the Paris Accords is far worse.

    In 2015 the Obama/Biden administration, without Senate authorization, committed the US to the Paris Climate Accords. The Accords called for a 28% cut in emissions by 2025 and at least an 80% cut by 2050.
    The costs of Obama’s Paris plan would have been enormous. The nonpartisan National Economic Research Associates concluded that Obama’s plan would cause rising economic damage reaching $2 trillion a year—about $15,000 a household—by 2040.

    The costs of Obama’s Paris plan to industrial workers would have been particularly onerous. The nonpartisan National Economic Research Associates concluded that Obama’s plan would destroy 6.5 million American industrial jobs by 2040.
    Joe Biden’s Paris plan is far more more onerous than Obama’s: eliminating CO2 emissions from electricity by 2035 and eliminating all CO2 emissions by 2050. In fact, it’s impossible because all energy uses a lot of fossil fuel for mining, transportation, and high-temp heat.
    While Biden’s emissions elimination goals cannot be achieved, period, the attempt to achieve them would be devastating. Just one of Biden’s plans involves forcing Americans to pay $2 trillion–$15,000 a household–to begin a solar and wind-based grid that can’t possibly work.
    No cost estimates are possible for the impossible “net zero by 2050” goal. But the only nation to even try an independent cost-estimate, New Zealand, calculated 16% of GDP–the equivalent of $5 trillion a year US. That’s about $30,000 a household.

    Joe Biden’s climate-change plans will burn billions, won’t bring change we actually need
    Joe Biden will rejoin the Paris climate agreement soon after being inaugurated as president of the United States. Climate change, according to Biden, is “an existential threat” to the nation, and t…
    Even $30K per household per year is an underestimate for Biden’s Paris plan, because it assumes he will seek the most cost-effective ways to reduce emissions. But on Day 1 Biden *increased* emissions by stopping a pipeline that would have reduced emissions and created 10K+ jobs.”

    So there you have it. We really are doomed, but not by climate change itself, but by self serving ideologues. There are non so blind as those that cannot see.

    • January 22, 2021 8:46 am

      We are on a runaway train. The question is, will it coast to a halt or hit a wall? Either way these delusional plans will not come to pass.

    • jack broughton permalink
      January 22, 2021 11:33 am

      The big problem is that none of the opinion formers (the billionaires who own the Western press and governments) want the people to know that the science is not proven and that they will be impoverished by these mad policies. The big-lie is the key to their success and they will probably soon start to ban the dissenters from all media sources to ensure their success.

  21. Gamecock permalink
    January 22, 2021 9:28 pm

    “Government ordered to release Net Zero cost calculations’

    This presumes they ever existed. People “saving the planet” don’t concern themselves with ‘cost.’

  22. Adam Gallon permalink
    January 23, 2021 9:50 pm

    What’s the betting they’re not released?

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