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OBR Reveals The Crippling Cost Of Net Zero

November 24, 2022

By Paul Homewood


It’s amazing the things you find when you’re not looking for them!

I found this gem hidden away in one of the OBR’s spreadsheets for the October 2021 Economic & Fiscal Outlook:




Over the full period of 2020 to 2050, the total public spend on Net Zero is as high as £573.1 bn. The Low /High Share scenarios simply reflect what proportion of the cost the government will pay as opposed to the public. It does not alter what we will have to pay in total terms, whether via tax or private spending.


Just focussing on the next few years, the High Share comes to a frightening £138.8 billion by 2030, on top of what we have all paid out up to now.


And this public spending is only the tip of the iceberg, as the next OBR page shows.

By 2050 the impact of Net Zero public spending is projected to increase public sector debt by 11.8% of GDP. But on top of this will come an extra 22.4% of debt resulting from indirect effects and debt interest.

In other words, that figure of £573 bn above is probably only a third of the true cost to the public sector. Meanwhile, as already noted, the private sector will also have to pay out much more in the quest for Net Zero.



37 Comments leave one →
  1. Micky R permalink
    November 24, 2022 5:19 pm

    My estimate is c£500 billion to date, comprising:

    c£150 billion handout from the taxpayer to the “energy suppliers”
    c£150 billion “excessive profits” for the “energy suppliers” i.e. paid for by the UK consumer
    c£100 billion in subsidies to renewable energy companies
    c£20 billion carbon tax

    c£500 billion is well on the way to the historical £1,500 billion estimate from the OBR to achieve net zero by 2050 (article from 2021)

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      November 26, 2022 9:20 pm

      I’m convinced that the £1,500 billion estimate is way too low as it doesn’t seem to include massive amounts of battery storage. This can be seen in the charts above where power only accounts for £2-3 billion a year. If all of this was spent on batteries it may result in 40-50GWH of storage (based on the admittedly outdated figures given for the huge battery Tesla built in S. Australia several years ago). By 2050 we would end up with enough storage to cover roughly 1 days demand in winter when wind speeds are very low, but not the multiday periods of low wind speeds we see pretty much every winter.
      Since the amount forecast to be spent on power is relatively low I assume that it’s based on a scenario where there is no new nuclear, but large amount of gas generation with carbon capture which would account for the large sums spent on removal. Therefore not only is the estimated cost too low but it relies on a technology that so far hasn’t been proven to work at the scale required.

  2. John Hultquist permalink
    November 24, 2022 5:36 pm

    Are any of the costs/regulations/taxes/fees doing anything to improve a known condition?
    The better strategy would be to expand the economy and apply benefits to improving environmental issues that actually need a fix. Over the last 100 years successful societies do a better job of environmental care than the impoverished ones.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      November 24, 2022 5:54 pm

      Expand the economy? Like Kwasi wanted? Yep.

    • dave permalink
      November 24, 2022 6:30 pm

      “…to improve a known [sic] condition?”

      That gets close to a point that is completely missed by glib advocates of applying ‘the precautionary principle.’ To take precautions is to be generally READY to do something appropriate. Actually DOING something before you know what IS ‘appropriate’ destroys readiness.

      I actually have several plans for the remote possibility that global warming is real. I thus apply the precautionary principle by being generally aware of various predictions while spending very little time and money in doing anything about them.

      • Michael permalink
        November 27, 2022 4:11 pm

        Have you allocated the billions that will end up in MPs and peers pockets?

  3. Chaswarnertoo permalink
    November 24, 2022 5:53 pm

    The insane greentards are in charge. We will own nothing and be happy. Or, we could start lynching politicians….

  4. Derek T permalink
    November 24, 2022 5:54 pm

    “I found this hidden away in an OBR spreadsheet” – as if we normally would browse through them in a waiting room somewhere! You are a veritable Sherlock Holmes. Sadly it is all completely lost on most of the public.

  5. Gordon Hughes permalink
    November 24, 2022 5:56 pm

    Paul – this is only a small part of the total cost of the transition.

    The graph is “… for public investment in the transition …”. But most of the costs do not arise in the form of public investment. For example, as you have documented, almost all of the costs of support for renewables are financed by levies on energy consumption. That is why the Power figures in the graph are so low. Similarly, if households or builders are required to install heat pumps in place of gas boilers, the costs of both installing and running them fall on occupiers not the government. And so on.

    In effect the costs shown in the graph are merely a small fraction of the burden that will fall on economy overall. However, there is a perspective which matters. It was claimed by the Climate Change Committee that the *total* cost of the transition would be less 1% of GDP. The figure in the graph is close to 1% of GDP over the period on its own. Factor in the usual optimism bias in all public expenditure figures and the public investment component alone will exceed 1% of GDP. If you add in reasonable estimates of the costs falling on businesses, households, public services (i.e. the expenditure side of the budget), etc, you will get to a minimum estimates of 5% of GDP with who knows how much more.

    • November 24, 2022 7:12 pm

      Also, won’t the financial burden be so high that GDP will rapidly fall?

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        November 25, 2022 2:51 pm

        Probably not as this spending will go in at “cost” rather than value. It is a problem of modern GDP estimates that things like email are given no value as they are freebie renewables are included at whatever they cost to build and install. As the state sounds more and more, GDP may appear to be going up but in reality, because that spending has little or no value to us, it is falling.

  6. November 24, 2022 6:06 pm

    Ummm, Governments have no money, even if they tacitly stoke their Central Bank to print money either by it masquerading as debt or 1929 style monetary bailouts. Whichever way you cut it, the “tax payer” and even “non taxpayers” will end up footing the entire bill less the “corporate” contribution, net of tax offsets – even then the customers will “pay” that bill too. And the Hunt/Sunak WEF Young leader Axis will follow previous incumbents and slope off back onto the gravy train as most egregiously done by Blair and Clegg, sometimes followed by Civil Servants.
    How would it all go if either an elected/appointed politician or First Division member, from Jan 1 2023, were barred for life from working in the private or public sector in any field which formed an integral part of previous public (and public funded) “engagements”, not allowed to lobby to any Department of any future Government. Any transgression would immediately lead to asset sequestration and a fast track to Profumoesque charitable work ( decided by The Court of Public opinion) for no remuneration and a lifetime ban on public comments about politics or the economy. Fanciful – maybe; but compare that to the ongoing disaster of WEF/WHO/UN promulgated globalism, global “vaccine” passports, GP prescribed mind altering drugs( a large % of them are very good at that historically) to counteract “vaccine” hesitancy, a continuing rush to develop (and inadequately test) many mRNA drugs, Govts determined to eradicate vast swathes of agricultural output which most sensible people describe as food, the rush to Net Zero Armageddon and the corrupt activities of Big Pharma, global medical authorities, the US Intelligence Services, eugenicist billionaires and their bought of politicians, media and social media Dictators – not so fanciful if only it were remotely doable…

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 24, 2022 9:24 pm

      Good comment!

      • November 24, 2022 10:04 pm

        Great analysis – just shows how effin intellectually bankrupt these AGW/CC/NZ0 sycophants truly are – sorry should have typed “thick”.
        If Schwab’s vision comes helter skelter to Eastern Europe/Balkans, eg, there will be no hiding place for him and his acolytes; the indigenous populations of these regions have lived with armed conflict for decades, I bet millions know how to obtain, may “own” already and operate very high powered weaponry due to national or enforced military service ( hence why Ukrainians are so adept as Putin and his Generals are finding out ) – the european equivalent of US State “Militias” and the Second Amendment. 300 + million armed and very angry people will be very difficult to convince to take another booster and all the “vaccine/CC/AGW/NZo” blx that goes with it. Met a young Croatian on a ski trip in 2021, spoke excellent English and fluent German – not a statistically relevant sample I grant you , but his clarity of thought, SARS COV2 scepticism (and of all things Russian/American especially) and “nous” was very striking. Europe does not need another war just like the ME, but all these people will only put up with struggle, stress, pressure for so long – or am I dreaming ?

  7. catweazle666 permalink
    November 24, 2022 6:15 pm

    And going by what it has cost up to now and how little effect it has had it will make little or no difference.

    Except we’ll all be bankrupt, of course!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 25, 2022 2:53 pm

      We will be like Easter Island. Spending our wealth and resources trying to placate the weather gods until our societies collapse.

  8. emhmailmaccom permalink
    November 24, 2022 6:29 pm

    Appreciating that future “Climate Change” from Man-kind burning fossil fuels is a non-problem and not reacting to that non-problem in an economically destructive manner would be the very best news for the Biosphere, for Man-kind and for the Western world.

  9. emhmailmaccom permalink
    November 24, 2022 6:30 pm

    Appreciating that future “Climate Change” from Man-kind burning fossil fuels is a non-problem and not reacting to that non-problem in an economically destructive manner would be the very best news for the Biosphere, for Man-kind and for the Western world.

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 24, 2022 7:30 pm

    Adding insult to injury, having f*£#@! up our energy market, the government is now going to lecture us like we are morons, tell us it’s our fault for not hating Putin enough, and tell us to just suck it up.

  11. Gamecock permalink
    November 24, 2022 8:07 pm

    ‘Crippling Cost Of Net Zero’

    I think it bogus to try to put £ figures on estimated cost. The cost of Net Zero is the end of the UK. Put a £ number on that.

    If that’s not enough, remember that Neolithic societies have no money. There will be no billions. Nor millions. Nor even thousands.

    But it won’t matter. You will have long since lost the ability to finance a military, and will have been invaded. Study up on Danish and Norwegian.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 24, 2022 9:08 pm

      ‘End of the UK’…Quite! Herr Schwab (WEF) is on record – just the other day – saying that the World would be a better place if it was modelled on the Chinese political system. You’d laugh if it wasn’t so serious.

      • Micky R permalink
        November 24, 2022 10:16 pm

        Schwab’s comments

        Gob-smacking. Schwab reminds me of comedy film character set on global domination, only without the comedy.

  12. Cheshire Red permalink
    November 24, 2022 8:19 pm

    Oh for crying out loud, what’s a few hundred billion between friends?

    Just turn your central heating down a bit.

  13. Peter Lawrenson permalink
    November 24, 2022 8:50 pm

    Economist Jeff Currie of Goldman Sachs (Global Head of Commodities Research in the Global Investment Research Division) said on CNBC in October 2022 : “Here’s a stat for you, as of January of this year. At the end of last year, overall, fossil fuels represented 81 percent of overall energy consumption. Ten years ago, they were at 82. So though, all of that investment in renewables, you’re talking about 3.8 trillion, let me repeat that $3.8 trillion of investment in renewables moved fossil fuel consumption from 82 to 81 percent, of the overall energy consumption. But you know, given the recent events and what’s happened with the loss of gas and replacing it with coal, that number is likely above 82.” … The net of it is clearly we haven’t made any progress.””

    • Max Beran permalink
      November 24, 2022 11:03 pm

      Energy “consumption”!

  14. Harry Passfield permalink
    November 24, 2022 9:03 pm

    Over the last year I have written a piece about NZ (for myself) and in its conclusion worked out the number of cars (for example) needed to satisfy the prospect – among other things. I have unashamedly used Broadland’s numbers (thank you) for the weight of CO2 and came to the following conclusion (the detail of the piece – not included here – explains the way I have arrived at the numbers and the plans that would abate 50% of CO2 and sequestrate the other 50%, along with a Pareto Analysis (80/20) of the outcomes. Anyway, there’s a bit more to it than that but the outcome was based on publicly recorded values):

    “In the UK, the average CO2 emitted by ICE cars is approximately 140 grams per kilometre (approx 220 grams per mile). Therefore, with an average annual distance travelled of 16,000 km per car each one is responsible for approx 2,250 kg – 2.25 Tonnes of CO2. And thus, for the UK to abate 3.2B Tonnes (from my more detailed calculations) just by banning all cars from the road it would need to remove approx 1.4 Billion cars from the road. Hmmm….

    But, that’s not enough….In order to abate just HALF of the emissions of CO2 that the alarmists claim are going to fry the planet we need to remove 24,000,000 times more ICE vehicles than are on the road at the moment. And that’s just for the UK! It is an unreal target for a reason. Those that are – hysterically – for it are not able to figure it out because they have a different agenda; those that are against it are derided as fools and deniers.. ”

    (Apologies for long comment – the original work was longer – and needs to be reviewed 🙂 )

    • In The Real World permalink
      November 25, 2022 1:24 pm

      Harry Passfield . To put your figures into perspective .
      CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.04% . Of which only about 3% is human caused .
      The UK produces only 1% of all human emissions , and vehicles are responsuble for about 20% of that .
      So we finish up with UK vehicles produce just 0.000001% of CO2 in the atmosphere , or 1 part in 50 million parts .
      Anybody who claims that a tiny amount like that could have any noticeable affect on the climate is lying , and there have been hundreds of scientific papers published proving it is a lie .

  15. November 25, 2022 9:32 am

    What about after 2050? And the cost of scrapping and replacing obsolete wind and solar on a (maybe) 20-year cycle? And the vast mileages of transmission lines and interconnectors, the carbon capture and storage, the biomass fiasco, and on and on?

  16. Jack Broughton permalink
    November 25, 2022 1:57 pm

    Government spending is meant to be according the “Green Book”, which requires cost / benefit analysis of projects. We all know the costs, but what actual benefits do we get from this massive investment to replace plant that has (or had) years of life remaining and increasing our import of foreign fuels?

    The low-cost renewable power claim is also now clearly disproven by the high rate being paid to unreliable generators.

  17. November 25, 2022 2:47 pm

    Two items that renewable sycophants must learn to hate if they don’t already but refuse to acknowledge publicly as PH knows only to well and restated ad nauseam: Strike price and Current Market Rate ( especially when the latter is far higher than the former ); not only do wind unreliable renewables need massive ongoing subsidy, but they then get to screw the taxpaying/benefit receiving/consumer royally ( and twice over) by abandoning it for the massively bigger bucks . Reminds me of the PFI scam where the holder of the PFI contract ( often not the original owner) continues to receive “payments” from the tax paying/patient funder long after the PFI structure has either been put to “disuse”. The persons/Govt department who dreamt up that sort of contract can only be described as “financially inept”….and I refrained form far worse terminology for fear of offending the Moderator..

  18. David permalink
    November 25, 2022 6:11 pm

    The lunacy of government policies and the whole sorry list of things which are destroying our way of life leads me to the conclusion that ideas are being forced on us with secret threats from somewhere that are compelling the powers that be to act in these ways.

  19. Stephen Lord permalink
    November 25, 2022 11:58 pm

    The west is committing suicide

    • catweazle666 permalink
      November 26, 2022 1:08 am

      Actually it’s being murdered, Stephen.

      At a news conference last week in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism.

      “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said. Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will be adopted at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

      And there’s plenty more where that came from.

      • Gamecock permalink
        November 26, 2022 10:48 pm

        Mr Weazle, it was February 2015. Follow your own link.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        November 27, 2022 12:09 am

        I’ve entered the quote “At a news conference last week in Brussels” verbatim from the linked article, Gamecock.
        It’s at the beginning of the second paragraph, as you would have observed had you bothered to read that far,

  20. Broadlands permalink
    November 28, 2022 1:51 pm

    By definition, Net-Zero requires taking out as much CO2 as has been put in. Last year that was close to 40 billion tons…five tons for all eight billion people on the planet. Totally impossible, regardless of cost.

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