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Harrabin Lies About UK Emission Targets

December 2, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Harrabin is an utter disgrace:




The UK is "nowhere near" meeting emissions targets enshrined at the Glasgow climate summit, official advisers have warned.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) says that, at current rates, the UK will be contributing to a disastrous temperature rise of 2.7C by 2100.

It says this could – in theory – be brought down to just under 2C.

But this could only happen if ministers agree tougher policies, and if other nations slash emissions too.

The government insists that it will meet all its climate change targets. Scientists say any temperature rise approaching 2C is extremely dangerous, so green groups want the UK to improve its emissions targets.

But the CCC says Britain will set a better example to the world if it keeps the same targets but actually delivers them through stronger policies.

It maintains that the government must nudge people towards greener lifestyles, and must tackle emissions from farming more aggressively.

The committee’s chief executive, Chris Stark, said: "The government is nowhere near achieving current targets.


"If it sets tougher targets that will simply widen the gap between ambition and delivery. What we really need is to strengthen delivery – and show the world that it can be done."

His group has produced a shortlist of ideas to support Britain’s climate leadership.

They include producing convincing plans to cut emissions by 78% by 2035; and drawing up agreements to radically reduce so-called "embodied emissions" from major polluters such as steel and cement.

The CCC also says the UK should act to reduce embodied emissions in imported goods – the emissions created to make the stuff British residents buy.

This could happen through taxes imposed on carbon-intensive goods being imported into the UK.

Another proposed strategy could be based on the final agreement at COP to phase out inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.

The committee says this gives the government licence to change tax policy so that fossil fuels pay for the damage they cause to the climate. It says the current tax system is currently clearly inefficient because it fails to bear down on polluting sectors that are damaging the climate.

This proposal could lead to increases in the cost of petrol, gas and aviation.

The government has been reviewing tax options, but it’s been reported that senior ministers have warned against policies that could increase the cost of living for some.

UK climate experts are worried about the Treasury’s role in emissions policy. The Chancellor was widely blamed for failing to support the ill-fated Green Homes Grant. And, in his Budget just days before the COP, he omitted to mention climate change.

"The government is moving far too slowly," said Greenpeace director John Sauven.

"For the committee (CCC) to suggest it’s OK for the UK to contribute to a temperature rise approaching 2C is outrageous. We know that a rise of 1.5C isn’t safe – we’re not even all safe now with a rise of 1.1C.

"What are we going to tell future generations about how we wrecked the climate?"

A government response to the CCC has been sought. 


The headline is grossly misleading, because the UK is on course to meet its COP26 targets,

What Harrabin is arguing is that COP26, and for that matter Paris, did nothing to actually reduce global emissions, which would instead carry on rising. This, of course, is thoroughly inconsistent with the target of 2C, and ambition of 1.5C, “enshrined” at COP26.

The reason for this is that most of the world stuck two fingers up and said they would refuse to cut emissions, in contrast to the UK which has pledged to cut emissions from 1990 levels by 68% in 2030.

In other words, Britain is more than doing its bit.

But in Harrabin World, this is not good enough. Because most of the world refuses to do anything, Britain must make even more cuts to compensate.

The biggest irony is that the UK Government’s emission targets are those already recommended by the CCC. Yet now, the CCC say we must do more.

This is a total abuse of the CCC’s powers. Their remit is to advise government on how to achieve Net Zero by 2050, as enacted by Parliament. Not to set policy or change the law.

And Harrabin’s solution? Tax people more for petrol, gas and aviation. Why does he hate ordinary British people so much?

He also thinks we must radically reduce emissions on goods we import, such as from China. The import tax he suggests will simply cost the public yet more, without having the slightest effect on what China do.

And when we have crucified ourselves on Harrabin’s Cross, will it have made any difference to global emissions?

  1. Broadlands permalink
    December 2, 2021 2:59 pm

    “But this could only happen if ministers agree tougher policies, and if other nations slash emissions too.”

    Well, Joe Biden disagrees? He has “slashed” the US strategic oil reserves by about 30 million barrels and forced the oil industry to convert them into biofuels to add fossil fuel CO2 to the atmosphere….to lower the price of climate change? Apparently the climate change crisis is not as much of an emergency as it was when he was in Glasgow?

  2. Coeur de Lion permalink
    December 2, 2021 3:00 pm

    In five years plus of Radio Four watching I have never heard the BBC reveal to its taxpayers that UK emits just over one per cent of global CO2 and that nothing we do matters a toss. With multitudes I agree with Lord Lawson’s article in a recent Spectator “Decarbonisation, in short, will produce an unparalleled economic calamity”. Harrabin has been for years a frictionless cloaca for Greenpeace lying handouts..

    • devonblueboy permalink
      December 2, 2021 4:32 pm

      “A frictionless cloaca……”, the beauty of the English language knows no bounds 🤣🤣

      • Michael permalink
        December 3, 2021 7:42 am

        I had to Google ‘cloaca’, methinks latin not English. Goog insult though

      • devonblueboy permalink
        December 3, 2021 8:00 am

        A number of very good insults are best given in the original Latin 😁

    • Tom Prendergast permalink
      December 4, 2021 10:24 am

      Odious excuse for a human being

  3. William Birch permalink
    December 2, 2021 3:22 pm

    I Put this on Harribins BBC post – I thought Harrabin had left the BBC, yet here he is again peddling hysteria. Nearly 400,000 homes had no electricity after Storm Arwen, Still some are off line today. If UK goes all electric, then that means no gas fires or cookers, no diesel generators, the heat pumps wont work and no electric lights. Thus we all freeze in the dark. I for one have never voted for this to happen.

  4. Curious George permalink
    December 2, 2021 3:26 pm

    Enshrined? Are they building a Church of Intolerance, like the Nazionalsozialists did?

  5. Cheshire Red permalink
    December 2, 2021 3:27 pm

    Gotta love the CCC’s entirely fake precision, from 2.7C to ‘just under’ 2.0C. Racketeers, the lot of em.

    • Malcolm Bell permalink
      December 2, 2021 3:56 pm

      You are exactly right. Unlike the modellers who are just glorified guessing. That they can talk about fractions of degrees as the Earth’s mean temperature and then tell us what, exactly, will happen in consequence will happen is simply scientifically absurd. I speak as a Chartered Engineer who has spent a long life in rigorous applied science and understands what trying to measure mean temperatures of complex dynamic systems really involves.

      When the reality of what of what these people are doing becomes clear how will they compensate for the huge and lasting damage they are causing?

      • Broadlands permalink
        December 2, 2021 4:57 pm

        Well said! Pass it on to the greens who haven’t a clue.

      • mervhob permalink
        December 2, 2021 6:27 pm

        Fully agree, Malcolm. If you look at Michael Mann’s original ‘modelling’, using eigenvectors, he successfuly, by the incorrect use of averaging, wiped out all the information relating to the Roman climatic optimum, the Medieval optimum and the Mini Ice Age. While averaging can recover a trend in data, it cannot recover the causes for that trend, something that I am sure, Paul understands. The average of a periodic sine wave is zero, but it also has a root means square (RMS) value which demonstrates its potential for action. The application of mathematics blindly, without consideration of the underlying mechanisms, leads to poor physics. Claudius Ptolemy was caught out by that one!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 3, 2021 8:31 am

      They can’t measure it that accurately, they can’t model it that accurately.

      But apparently saying that is anti-science.

  6. Penda100 permalink
    December 2, 2021 3:42 pm

    it isn’t even about how much the UK’s (minuscule) emissions might or might not contribute to any rise in temperatures, it’s all about “setting a better example to the World”. In other words, so that the CCC, Harrabin and his cronies in Greenpeace etc can feel virtuous, people have to taxed into poverty (or out of the UK) as the Government wrecks the economy. The saddest thing is that there is no guarantee that Boris will not decide to go along with it.

  7. December 2, 2021 3:49 pm

    Harebrain is certifiable

  8. December 2, 2021 3:51 pm

    Yet the total mass of Earth’s atmosphere is about 5.5 quadrillion tons, or 5,500,000Gt. So 26.6Gt is 0.000484% of the atmosphere. A miniscule fraction and nothing to panic about. Then of course, the UK proportion is 1% of that, so vanishingly small.

    • Broadlands permalink
      December 2, 2021 5:02 pm

      And just one part-per-million of that trace gas, CO2… is 7,800 million metric tons. There are some fools trying to capture and take out 50 ppm to save the planet??? The real fools are those governments that take our tax money and subsidize it.

  9. December 2, 2021 4:10 pm

    What is needed is a new powerful group of MPs to start asserting themselves and ideally a pressure group to be formed, but this won’t happen until more of the public start to feel the pain of the current policies. This should start to happen soon.

    • John Halstead permalink
      December 2, 2021 5:32 pm

      People like us who know about the warming scam need to keep blaming net zero for the inevitable power cuts and declining economy, in just the same way that the warmists blame all sorts of events on global warming.

      • C Lynch permalink
        December 2, 2021 9:09 pm

        Remind me again about Mr Harrabin’s scientific qualifications.
        Absolutely none I assume just that embarrassment to the Irish Nation, Matt McGrath

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 3, 2021 8:36 am

      The madness will continue until it threatens re-election.

  10. 2hmp permalink
    December 2, 2021 4:12 pm

    Didn’t Harrabin leave the BBC because they could see that he was regarded as a fool ?

  11. Mad Mike permalink
    December 2, 2021 4:49 pm

    If you read the comments that the BBC has allowed on the article you can see why I was against having a referendum on net zero. Lots of people are supporting Harrabin’s article.

    • Kestrel27 permalink
      December 2, 2021 5:31 pm

      I agree. I haven’t signed and won’t be signing the petition for a referendum. What we need is a substantial number of MPs with a much greater grasp of reality than this lot who on quite a few matters, including climate and energy of course, have shown themselves to be fantasists. No, I’m not optimistic either.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      December 2, 2021 6:36 pm

      In this case the turkeys will be voting for Christmas.

    • Jordan permalink
      December 2, 2021 8:35 pm

      If you don’t want to sign a petition for a referendum Mike et al, you can vote to simply revoke the 2050 Net Zero target.

    • December 3, 2021 2:31 pm

      The non-supporters are less likely to get their comments accepted.

  12. It doesn't add up... permalink
    December 2, 2021 6:10 pm

    It would be news if Harrabin told the truth.

  13. Mack permalink
    December 2, 2021 7:30 pm

    Looking on the bright side, as far as Hairbrain hyperventilating about global temperatures are concerned, he’ll be delighted to learn that, according to UAH, the Glasgow jamboree caused the planetary warming anomaly to plunge a ‘substantial’ 0.3C in November. Or something like that. Correlation is causation, right? Give it a few more months of a similar trajectory and Santa will be moving his elf workshop to Hairbrain’s pad down the Thames Valley. Marvellous.

  14. cookers52 permalink
    December 2, 2021 8:09 pm

    Harrabin may be a alarmist fool but our Prime Minister is auditioning for the part of village idiot .

    The UK is becoming a joke.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      December 2, 2021 10:49 pm


  15. mervhob permalink
    December 2, 2021 8:09 pm

    The events in Northumbria and Scotland demonstrate the dreadful future that will result if we pursue this mad dash to net zero and the total abandonment of fossil fuels. I am reminded of the claims, 60 years ago, that electricity will be ‘too cheap to meter’ with nuclear fusion. Well, that just hasn’t happened and we are still having to boil water to produce steam to drive Charles Parson’s turbines….. Or burn gas to drive gas turbines – another Edwardian invention – all else is too intermittant and we do not have an efficient storage technology – anywhere!
    The ‘dash for gas’ has led to us being in the hands of thieves and despots who are rubbing their hands in glee. The current breed of ‘market makers’ whose only business model is ‘buy cheap – sell dear’ have led to manufacturing capacity being stripped out of the Western nations and given to the slaves of the Far East. The pandemic has shown just how tenuous that supply chain is. If there was a planned ‘greening’ programme to reduce the tide of waste brought on us by ‘market’ forces, to bring manufacturing jobs back to the UK and with it, a genuine commitment to developing sustainable, reliable technologies, based on the measured use of fossil fuels, most would feel that represented real progress. However, that would involve the long-overdue slaughter of some political sacred cows!

    • markl permalink
      December 3, 2021 1:16 am

      Well said.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      December 3, 2021 8:35 am

      So we have just about full employment. When we bring these manufacturing jobs back to the UK, which jobs are you going to get rid of?

      And on what basis?

      That making physical things is somehow a “real” job?

      And it wasn’t the pandemic, it was the utter stupidity of governments that disrupted supply chains. Pretty sure we aren’t doing away with that soon.

      • mervhob permalink
        December 3, 2021 10:07 pm

        Sadly, our ‘full employment’ is that of the zero hour contract on the minimum wage in the hospitality sector. Our chancellor, ‘Chipshop’ Sunak seem to be happy with that but those forced to work long hours in such poorly paid jobs are less than happy. An economy based on ‘buy cheap – sell dear’ provides no path for the majority out of enforced poverty. I spent over 40 years in manufacturing industry, the products of which mostly were for export and brought real revenues into the country.
        The making of physical things is a real job – the Swiss have survived for centuries exploiting exactly that – by keeping their technical performance ahead of the rest combined with skilled appreciation of their markets. The Chinese, thanks to our stupidity, have taken over the bulk of manufacturing.
        Between 1820 and 1840 the growth of manufacturing, driven by science and technical change, led to the greatest change by the end of the century, in the human condition ever seen anywhere in the world. The ‘things’ produced, such as the achromatic microscope, set in train the ability to understand the sources of infectious disease and the need for clean water. The understanding of chemistry led to cracking of oil from Scottish tar sands and vastly improved and cheaper lighting from oil lamps. The ability to harness electricity transformed communication via the telegraph and led to even more advances in lighting. All these improvements required making ‘things’ and their continuous improvement. And the continuous power of fossil fuels.
        Amidst all the bleating by arts graduates about ‘green revolutions’ I have not heard a single proposal on how this is to be achieved in a sustainable way if we persist with the same old ‘tired’ market based structure based on slave labour in the third world. Bringing manufacturing back onshore and retraining the younger population into the disipline of truly productive jobs is the only way out of our current economic straitjacket.

  16. C Lynch permalink
    December 2, 2021 9:10 pm

    Remind me again about Mr Harrabin’s scientific qualifications.
    Absolutely none I assume just like that embarrassment to the Irish Nation, Matt McGrath

  17. Gamecock permalink
    December 2, 2021 11:18 pm

    ‘and must tackle emissions from farming more aggressively’

    Farming keeps you alive. The decadent attack that which keeps them alive. Going after petrol, too.

  18. Graeme No.3 permalink
    December 3, 2021 6:21 am

    The Greens (so called because of the fungus in their craniums) are getting more and more loud and hysterical in case the gullible politicians start to change their ‘thinking’. The same tactic applies in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and wherever there are elections (ones that can change things). Lots of noise trying to appear a majority.
    The moment that many of the general public start to think that Global Warming© is a load of bovine excreta and vote, or indicate that they will vote, elsewhere will be the turning point. And the coming winter won’t help the Greens.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 3, 2021 3:26 pm

      Before I switched off Vine today, he was interviewing a green nut who has now ramped up the language from ‘climate emergency’ to ‘climate catastrophe’!

      • December 3, 2021 3:34 pm

        ‘Catastrophe’ has already been used, so he’ll have to ranp up his hyperbole if he wants to be noticed. “Armageddon”? Otherwise…. yawn!

  19. December 3, 2021 11:26 am

    A bit of background from Private Eye.

    The BBC is moving its environment/climate change department from London to Cardiff. Both Harrabin and David Shukman recoiled in horror at the thought of having to move to Wales, and handed in their notices.

    The interesting thing will be watching what Justin Rowlatt (BBC Climate Change Editor) does. He lives on the same street in London as Shukman. Will he move to Wales or will he commute from London?

    BBC persons say that as he has “Editor” in his job title, he will have the freedom to decide where he works to a large extent, i.e. he will spend most of his time in London and he won’t be moving to Wales. Let’s see.

    • December 3, 2021 11:45 am

      In the online age, why does the ‘department’ need to be physically located anywhere? Another dinosaur structure in the BBC that needs to die?

      • December 3, 2021 12:01 pm

        The BBC is a London bubble. They are smarting from this (true) accusation so they are trying to spread out around the country more.

        However it is a pointless exercise if the staff continue to live in north London while being ferried to and from the provinces in paid-for taxis. I heard a story that staff demand a security escort, from taxi to office entrance, across the car park at Salford.

        Channel 4 News have a “North of England Correspondent”, as if it were a country in Africa. They were supposed to be moving to Leeds if we recall, but there has been no action on that to this day.

      • Curious George permalink
        December 3, 2021 3:41 pm

        Cardiff? Why not Sandness, Shetland?

      • devonblueboy permalink
        December 3, 2021 3:54 pm

        Why not Ulan Bator?

  20. cookers52 permalink
    December 4, 2021 8:09 am

    Harrabin lies. (full stop)

  21. tom0mason permalink
    December 4, 2021 9:29 am

    And Harrabin’s solution? Tax people more for petrol, gas and aviation. Why does he hate ordinary British people so much?
    He also thinks we must radically reduce emissions on goods we import, such as from China. The import tax he suggests will simply cost the public yet more, without having the slightest effect on what China do.
    And when we have crucified ourselves on Harrabin’s Cross, will it have made any difference to global emissions?

    Like so many in the UK government and just about everybody broadcasting on the BBC’s channels, in fact most of main stream media, they appear to suffer with a particularly aggressive form of Savior Complex (aka the Bill Gates ‘I’m a saint’ complex)

    • devonblueboy permalink
      December 4, 2021 9:44 am

      It’s a complex that is most apparent in ignorant people in a position of power and/or influence

  22. George Lawson permalink
    December 4, 2021 10:48 am

    We rarely get a written response to any of the criticisms leveled at those who refute the opposing arguments that are put forward by sites like this. If Mr Harrabin seriously believes in the stuff he writes, can we invite him to offer his comments on Paul Homewoods excellent rebuttal of his recent piece?

    • devonblueboy permalink
      December 4, 2021 10:54 am

      You cannot challenge a firmly held belief, no matter how stupid it is, with rational argument. Harebrain and the other watermelons need a piece of sawn 4 x 2 bounced off their craniums

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