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Net Zero Unrealistic; But Jeremy Warner Wants To Spend Trillions On It Anyway!

March 12, 2023

By Paul Homewood


h/t Ian Magness


A hopelessly garbled and self contradictory piece from Jeremy Warner:




More money for defence, policing, child care, long term illness, new nuclear, gigafactories, an auto industry struggling to find reasons to stay in the UK now that the internal combustion engine is to be assigned to the dustbin of history – the list of calls on the public purse just keeps on growing.

Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, will no doubt make as much of a show as he can out of the little room for manoeuvre he’s got in next week’s spring Budget.

But the overriding message will be similar to that of Liam Byrne, one-time chief secretary to the Treasury, who on being voted out of office in 2010 left a note on his desk to his successor saying, “I’m afraid there is no money. Good luck”.

Gordon Brown had spent it all; Byrne’s missive marked the start of years of penny-pinching austerity.

On this occasion, Hunt has no one to blame for the dire state of the public finances but his own Government, which has even more heroically splashed the cash, first on lockdown and then on energy price subsidies.

Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts suggest there is little or no money left for all those other worthy causes.

Into this miserable straitjacket of constraint steps – like a forgotten relative at the nation’s own funeral – another of the Government’s claimed objectives, net zero by 2050.

This is a legally binding commitment, and should therefore be at the heart of whatever industrial/energy strategy the Government might have, yet it doesn’t even figure on Rishi Sunak’s five key priorities for 2023.

While others race ahead, climate change policy in Britain has been left becalmed amid a sea of Whitehall indecision, byzantine planning restrictions and lack of money.

It is as plain as a pike staff that net zero by 2050 is already an almost wholly unrealistic objective, but the pretence goes on, apparently oblivious to the scale of the challenge.

More than 90pc of the country’s current energy provision – gas, coal, oil, diesel and petrol – is not meant to exist in 27 years’ time. The idea that alternatives can be achieved in such a short space of time is cloud cuckoo land.

Even to come close requires the Government to start putting its hand in its pocket in a manner not yet remotely contemplated.

Instead, ministers hide behind a list of headline grabbing targets, aspirations and notional commitments which they fondly hope will of themselves galvanise the private sector into investing and bringing about the desired transition.

Well, here’s the truth: they will not. I’ve been talking to the climate change activist Daragh Coleman, whose CBI Projects consultancy has been crunching some of the numbers, using data from Imperial College London.

By his calculation, removing all hydrocarbon-based sources of energy from the economy by 2050 would result by way of replacement in a 400pc increase in peak demand for electricity from the UK’s 20m-plus households.

On average, electricity usage would surge from 12.8 kW/hours a day per household to 126.8. Business demand would grow by a similar order of magnitude.

Given current dithering and Treasury scrimping, how on earth is that going to be achieved?

Even with advances in energy storage and efficiency, it’s going to require something like a five-fold expansion in both the National Grid’s and the country’s generating capacity.

And by the way, National Grid does not disagree.

It has stated that over the next seven years it will need to install five times the amount of transmission infrastructure in England and Wales than has been built in the last 30 years to support the Government’s target of 50 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

For its part, the Climate Change Committee said in an update last week that a decarbonised electricity system alone will require reinforcement of all parts of the existing network, with an average doubling of their capability by 2035.

As it is, the CCC is almost certainly underestimating the scale of the task, having factored in only a 50pc increase in demand for electricity to reflect the expected increase in electricity use in transport, industry, and buildings.

National Grid already struggles to keep the lights on during even the briefest of wintry spells.

What chance when there is no gas, no oil, no coal and the country’s entire transport, lighting, heating and air-conditioning needs are dependent on electricity?

The only new nuclear build going on in Britain right now is the ruinously expensive Hinkley Point C, and all this will do is partially fill the gap in supply left by the progressive closure over the next five years of the ageing remnants of Britain’s existing fleet of nuclear generators.

The “Great British Nuclear” initiative is as things stand no more than a list of aspirations.

Be that as it may, the energy revolution is coming.

Already, there is unstoppable global momentum. The UK can either be at the forefront of it, or left trailing at the back, ever more dependent on foreign technology, expertise, and overseas supply chains in its efforts to catch up.

The extra £1bn a year earmarked in next week’s Budget for carbon capture is a step in the right direction, but still falls woefully short of what’s needed for the wider energy transition.

Yes, the Government has a policy of sorts, but without money behind it to help with implementation, it is worthless. The private sector won’t invest on the back of targets alone.

Take the car industry. The Government says that sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 onwards.

A noble aim perhaps, but not one likely to be helpful to car production in the UK. If told that all existing plants are to be made obsolete by 2030, the world is your oyster when deciding where to locate new electric vehicle manufacturing capacity.

The way things are going, it won’t be Britain. There is a real prospect of the target costing jobs rather than creating them.

CBI Projects’ Coleman reckons that the Government needs to be allocating a sum equivalent to at least 1pc of GDP to the energy transition to stand some chance of success – around £26bn a year – an investment he thinks will pay for itself several times over in higher growth.

But if money is tight, and there are all those other calls on the public purse, where’s it going to come from?

Part of the answer may lie in smarter allocation of resources. Why not, for instance, hypothecate some of the defence budget to these goals, by mandating that all military procurement be hydrogen powered vehicles, or even, if the Government felt minded to follow the protectionist model of America’s Inflation Reduction Act, are made-in-Britain EVs.

Net zero by 2050 may be fantasy, but we fail to participate in the industrial revolution of the coming energy transition at our peril.

He heavily belabours the fact that the UK is effectively broke, but then wants to waste hundreds of billions on Net Zero!

And his suggestion that we spend the defence budget on greenery is simply absurd; we might just as well disband the Armed Forces now.

Nowhere does he recognise the elephant in the room – that Net Zero is unaffordable, impractical and irrelevant in global terms.

But he does thankfully address some of the risks, such as the likely death of the UK car industry.

And his comments about the extra generating and transmission capacity needed must be reemphasised:

  • A 400% increase in peak demand from households
  • A ten-fold in demand for electricity from households and industry
  • A five-fold increase in generating transmission capacity.
  • The fact that the CCC seem to have seriously underestimated the scale of the problem

And above all this comment:




All of these problems have been obvious for years, as many of us have been repeatedly pointing out. So why were journalists like Jeremy Warner not warning about them long before Net Zero was legislated?

Why were they not demanding that Parliament properly cost Net Zero and offer a detailed roadmap of how it would have been achieved before the Net Zero Act was passed? Instead Warner and the rest simply went along all the other lemmings.

But it’s still not too late to recover your credibility, Mr Warner.

Start next week by demanding that Net Zero is suspended until all of these questions are addressed.

  1. 1saveenergy permalink
    March 12, 2023 10:36 am

    The Un-economics of Net Zero – Christopher Monckton

    Well worth watching …

    • Nicholas Lewis permalink
      March 12, 2023 1:04 pm

      Thanks for posting nice to see an alternative view being well set out

  2. 2hmp permalink
    March 12, 2023 10:47 am

    Even if we were able to increase our electrical energy the elephant in the room is the effects on health of living permanently in highly charged magnetic fields. Fortunately concern and research into this issue appears to be growing .

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 12, 2023 11:49 am

      Cirrusly? We had this solved in 1990. The answer is “No, it’s not a problem.”

      “Fortunately concern and research into this issue appears to be growing.”

      Like fantastical emails that come back every few years, keeping snopes in business.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        March 12, 2023 12:31 pm

        GC, I have zero understanding of the American university system nor what is a “good” or “not so good” institution. I am interested though in quite how this place is ranked
        A report from them has been quoted in this BBC article as if they are some form of gospel truth but I have my doubts
        Can you offer any insight?

      • Gamecock permalink
        March 12, 2023 1:15 pm


      • 2hmp permalink
        March 12, 2023 2:01 pm

        International Agency for Research on Cancer

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 3:00 pm

        “Can you offer any insight?”


        Dalton’s Law states that it’s utter nonsense from start to finish.

      • Curious George permalink
        March 12, 2023 4:47 pm
        They excel in accounting, finance, and Greek Life.

      • 2hmp permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:19 pm

        National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) –
        European Bioelectromagnetics Association (EBEA)
        International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
        Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
        BioInitiative Working Group

  3. March 12, 2023 10:50 am

    One factor here is the battle of the egos, Warner vs AEP, most visible in their Brexit articles, but also in Net Zero, where AEP is a zealot and a useful idiot.

    Neither of them mentions the primary justification for renewables, the old-fashioned economic reason of reducing reliance on imports of fuel, which in the good old days used to be good for the balance of payments.

  4. Graeme permalink
    March 12, 2023 10:56 am

    The key to UK economic growth and prosperity is abundant, reliable, affordable energy. The key to Net Zero is that it needs to be carbon neutral. Since these are mutually exclusive we need to decide which has priority. There’s only one practical choice which allows us to fund education, NHS, infrastructure, defence etc. There is of course a longer term way to have both, Nuclear is abundant, reliable and zero carbon. We just need to find a way to make it cheaper, perhaps by reducing regulations.

    • Jordan permalink
      March 12, 2023 6:34 pm

      Regarding Nuclear, I believe you are asking too much Graeme.
      Imagine a new nuclear power station is built in an unregulated, competitive, free market. In this type of market, all participants must be at equal risk of going bust – this is important for competitive price discovery. The most effective survive and compete, and all the rest don’t.
      This cannot happen for Nuclear because it would leave the public purse with a large liability. Therefore placing nuclear into a truly competitive situation cannot avoid a large externality.
      So Nuclear is a business which cannot go bust in anything approaching the normal sense of free market dynamics. Wherever it exists, Nuclear needs special protection against insolvency, because it cannot be left to go bust like other private businesses.
      If in doubt, have a look at the US 1957 Price-Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act.
      This has far reaching consequences today in the UK power industry. UK Government policy is to create 24GW of new nuclear (IIRC). Nuclear will be a significant segment of the UK power industry. The Government has produced a “RAB model” (Regulatory Asset Base) which is the type of funding model for UK electricity and gas networks – which are also protected businesses which cannot go bust (the consequences are too awful).
      But this creates a form of crowding-out effect which completely wrecks any chance of the liberal risk-taking free markets (as some aspire to on these boards).
      Who would seriously go into this market when there is a supposed competitor business with Government protection against going bust? The UK Government and the private capital markets are perfectly aware of this and the EMR arrangements were introduced in 2013 to give the private sector some assurance on their investment cases. This give the UK government a form of outsourced services and it helps to keep the cost of owning assets of the Government books.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 7:12 pm

        Construction of Calder Hall, the World’s first grid scale nuclear power station, commenced in 1953, was carried out by Taylor Woodrow Construction and was officially opened on 17 October 1956, all done using 1950s technology and construction techniques.

        The station was closed on 31 March 2003, the first reactor having been in use for nearly 47 years.

        So what has gone wrong?

      • Jordan permalink
        March 12, 2023 7:57 pm

        It’s just Nuclear technology Catweazel. The private sector cannot stomach it. The Magnox and AGR power stations were designed, developed and built under the ownership of the state-owned CEGB.
        There is a barrier to Nuclear in a liberal private market: if a Nuclear plant cannot be allowed to fail financially, can we expect others to co-exist and be at risk of going bust? Why should anybody accept that position?
        I believe it’s fair to say that very best we can hope for is something with market-like features. The old CEGB merit order and Bulk Supply Tariff did. And some kind of protected investment model which is acceptable to non-Nuclear operators.
        We can complain about CfD’s and capacity contract because they seem to subsidise investments, and seem to offer a relatively safe risk allocation to the developer (that is, compared to a liberal private market). But who would invest in UK power generation when the Government is making it clear the future will have a 24 GW business that cannot go bust?
        We need to understand the game private investors are playing. They are rational profit maximising businesses, but they are not going to invest in the UK if they don’t think UK arrangements are “bankable”.
        (p.s. I remember standing on top of one of the operating Calderhall reactors. It was noisy, with a lot of big fans and a sign blowing about in the breeze: “Do Not Loiter”. )

      • Vernon E permalink
        March 13, 2023 10:41 am

        Catweazle: You know as well as I do that we simply don’t have the skills base to what was done in the 1950s and 60s. We could start by bringing back the HNC/HND training that was so successful.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 13, 2023 4:54 pm

        Not to mention having flogged all our industrial capabilities off cheap, of course.

        In the 1950s and early 60s Great Britain built the World’s fastest production motorcycle – Vincent Black Lightning, production car – Jaguar XK series, fastest aircraft – Fairey Delta 2, fastest steam locomotive – Gresley’s Mallard, World Speed Records on land and water – Campbell’s Bluebirds and even managed to launch a satellite which AFAIK is still in orbit.

        We produced what is still the only proven-in-combat VTOL strike fighter – the Hawker Harrier, and Hawker were close to having a supersonic-capable version – the P1154, which would have given us a carrier-capable VSTOL capability half a century before we bought the uninspiring F35, we even had a four engined VSTOL transport project, the Armstrong Whitworth 681 which had amazing potential.

        And let’s not forget the TSR2, capable of Mach+ low level flight without afterburner a good 30 years before any other plane.

        I could go on at great length!

        It’s called “managed decline”, those responsible should have been shot.

    • March 12, 2023 6:37 pm

      As with EVs, any possible benefit is completely negated by the costs, predictable inefficacy and policies out East, China, India et al, which put out most manmade CO2 and forbid significant decarbonisation.
      Failure to take account of that is madness.

    • liardetg permalink
      March 13, 2023 9:54 am

      But ‘carbon’ doesn’t matter

  5. that man permalink
    March 12, 2023 11:00 am

    “Start next week by demanding that Net Zero is suspended until all of these questions are addressed.”
    There is no ‘suspended until’ —Net Zero must be scrapped in its entirety.

  6. Micky R permalink
    March 12, 2023 11:19 am

    There is no logical basis for Net Zero because there is no proof that humans are responsible for climate change.

    • March 12, 2023 6:23 pm

      Nor is there any benefit from our reducing CO2, which we couldn’t possibly do.
      That is good for vegetation and crop growth, which depends on CO2 for photosynthesis.
      Without it, to half its present level, we all die.
      CO2 is plant food and not responsible for climate control.

      The Sun along with water vapour and cosmic radiation are (among many other variables) is the main controller of our planet’s climate.
      See: Lightfoot and Ratzer, 2021,2,3

      • M Fraser permalink
        March 12, 2023 7:01 pm

        Plus the Earth’s molten core, which will eventually cool and really cause climate armageddon through no fault of the human populace.

  7. March 12, 2023 11:36 am

    End all climate change spending in UK-it is pointless

  8. Cheshire Red permalink
    March 12, 2023 11:39 am

    Jeremy Warner might be late to the party but at least he’s showed up!

    It’s now clearly dawning on enlightened members of TPTB that Net Zero is already impossible to deliver on time, on budget (if there ever was one!) and without wrecking enormous damage on UK plc.

    However getting the policy suspended, deferred or cancelled is going to be a Herculean task, as there’s so many professional, personal and financial reputations on the line.

    All this before the left-wing Labour barn-pots get into No.10 and let Ed sodding Miliband loose with the statute book again. What a time to be alive.

  9. Gamecock permalink
    March 12, 2023 11:42 am

    ‘But we fail to participate in the coming energy transition at our peril’

    The transition is from your having energy to your not having energy.

    ‘While others race ahead’

    Ad populum fallacy.

    ‘A noble aim perhaps, but not one likely to be helpful to car production in the UK. If told that all existing plants are to be made obsolete by 2030, the world is your oyster when deciding where to locate new electric vehicle manufacturing capacity.’

    The assumption of replacement with electric vehicles is preposterous. And pretentious.

    Should said cars actually be banned by 2030, we have no way of knowing what the people will do. To wit:

    The root problem is government has no authority over the future. They can ban the cars this year, maybe next two or three. The future will decide what it’s going to do when it arrives. The time horizon for government is very limited.

    Gamecock predicts the people will replace their governments, not their cars.

    Warner recognizes ‘Net zero by 2050 may be fantasy,’ but his solution is to throw money at it and wreck the economy, not to abandon it. Short of killing the whole stupid program, the actual government response today of pretending they are doing something is best for Britain. As time goes by and the burden grows, it will become politically safer for them to kill Net Zero.

    ‘Here’s the truth about Britain’s net zero target – it’s wholly unrealistic’

    So kill the damn thing; don’t go on and on about what could be done. The press shouldn’t be protecting politicians.

    • Broadlands permalink
      March 12, 2023 1:10 pm

      “The assumption of replacement with electric vehicles is preposterous. And pretentious.”

      Indeed. How can a transition be made without using ICE vehicles to deliver and install solar, wind, even nuclear facilities? EVs are not ready for that.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      March 13, 2023 9:31 am

      And others aren’t “racing ahead”. This is a wholly fallacious argument, that if we aren’t building the supposed new technologies we are losing out. But this is nonsense – we should simply do something else. Far better to see what works snd then build or buy.

    • 2hmp permalink
      March 13, 2023 1:52 pm

      The market should have been allowed when to accept or adopt a new form of power for vehicles. It would be much further than 2030 if at all. The cost of NetZero is unaffordable on any measure and electric vehicles are part of that gross error..

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 13, 2023 6:21 pm

        Exactly, when the internal combustion engine replaced the horse as motive power for transport purposes it wasn’t because the government banned horses!

  10. ThinkingScientist permalink
    March 12, 2023 11:43 am

    But the tone of his article is still predicated on the assumption that net zero to protect against a climate crisis is still necessary. He’s only complaining the government has no money or plan to achieve it.

    Climate crap is now so entrenched its going to take a policy catastrophe to get government out of the cul-de-sac. Sadly that road may lead to a Sri Lanka type exit.

    • Cheshire Red permalink
      March 12, 2023 12:03 pm

      Is a more realistic strategy beginning to take shape in certain sectors of media?

      They can see with their own eyes that Net Zero is a doomed joyride but are realistic enough to recognise that political obstacles to resetting the policy are huge.

      This might also explain the lack of media calling for outright action against Net Zero, as they know there’d likely be commercial or political ‘consequences’ to being the first to call for Net Zero to be deferred or softened in any way.

      One thing is dominating the Net Zero landscape though; political fantasy is meeting head-on with economic reality, and reality will always win out.

      • Gamecock permalink
        March 12, 2023 1:18 pm

        It takes a little boy to say, “The emperor has no clothes.”

        Everyone else has too much to lose.

      • ThinkingScientist permalink
        March 12, 2023 3:37 pm

        Gamecock – indeed, the fable of the little boy and the Emperor is entirely apt. Folk lore wisdom eh?

      • March 12, 2023 6:57 pm

        Yes, Red, but who pays the piper? Will it be the entrenched Deep State? The entitled political class? The insulated wealthy elite? Or, as is usually the case, small businessmen and the working class? My bet is on the latter.

  11. kzbkzb permalink
    March 12, 2023 12:04 pm

    I think the estimates for future electricity demand are rather extreme. It’s true we have to replace 90% of our energy sources, which are predominantly fossil fuels.
    However, electricity use is typically far more efficient. An EV electric motor is 90% efficient compared to about 23% for a petrol engine. An electric heat pump is 260% efficient compared to 90% for a condensing gas boiler.
    So we do not have to replace all of the 800TWh/year of gas consumption with electricity, unit for unit. Probably something like 300TWh/yr would be sufficient. It’s a similar picture for electric vehicles, because they are 3 to 4 times more efficient than petrol vehicles at the point of use.
    The increased demand is enough to approximately triple current demand. That is bad enough, but it’s only a factor of 3 not 10.

    • chriskshaw permalink
      March 12, 2023 4:06 pm

      All these points have been debunked many times. There are multiple other issues that negate these benefits. Otherwise we’d all be supporting these things.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 12, 2023 4:31 pm

      “An EV electric motor is 90% efficient compared to about 23% for a petrol engine”

      Entirely ignoring the losses involved in transmission of the electricity to the point of use – anything up to 30% – and the losses in charging and discharging the battery – around 15% of course.

      Also, EVs are quoted at 77% efficiency, modern turbocharged petrol IC engines exceed 35% and diesels 45%

      And that’s just for starters!

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 12, 2023 4:45 pm

        I think you have picked figures from the extreme ends of estimates. Transmission and distribution losses are about 12% in the UK, speaking from memory. Nowhere near 30% anyhow. EV charging losses seem to vary a lot in estimates. The kind of losses you mention (15%) seem to occur when the battery temperature management system kicks in. That will happen with rapid charging, so if you can avoid that, it will be more efficient.
        Have you got any references for ICE engine efficiencies? Bear in mind laboratory tests under optimum conditions are not the same as real world motoring.

      • Curious George permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:01 pm

        kzbkzb: please read the link cat provided.

    • John Brown permalink
      March 12, 2023 5:23 pm

      The problem with renewables is obtainng reliable/dispatchable power. A very simple energy calculation using the capacity factor for wind turbines, the efficiencies of electrolysis, compression/storage and electrical generation show that for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable power it is necessary to install 8 GW of wind turbine capacity. Our energy policy makers know this which is why “cheap, abundant Britsh British renewables…and ensure reliable power is always there at the flick of a switch” (Net Zero Strategy P19) has been changed to “behaviour change” (P26 Mission Zero) and the Mission Zero/NG ESO FESs energy flow diagrams show no storage at all when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun is not shining. So by 2035 power will be expensive and intermittent.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:37 pm

        “for each 1 GW of reliable/dispatchable power it is necessary to install 8 GW of wind turbine capacity”

        When there is no wind blowing, 8 GW or 8,000 GW of wind turbine capacity will produce exactly the same power as 1 GW of wind turbine capacity – precisely zero.

        Without enough backup power to see us through a wind drought which may last several days, wind power is entirely worthless.

      • March 12, 2023 6:45 pm

        A combination of careless stupidity, ignorance, likely corruption and vanity dogs our politicos-the Ed.Milliband-Gummer syndrome.

      • March 12, 2023 7:06 pm

        ““behaviour change” (P26 Mission Zero)” is government-enforced (men with guns) privation for the average citizen. If a significant number of people understood what the dense bureaucratic double-speak actually meant there would be a run on tar and feather supplies.

        [My (U.S.) spell-checker doesn’t like “behaviour.”]

  12. Ray Sanders permalink
    March 12, 2023 12:26 pm

    The latest BBC Matt McGrath BS article.
    The quoted report’s author states “Professor SenGupta shares that optimism, believing that this new approach can remove CO2 for less than $100 a tonne.”
    Only $100 a tonne! Now someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I believe there are about 3,400 Gt of CO2 in the atmosphere so obviously a dirt cheap process!!!!!!.

    • mikewaite permalink
      March 12, 2023 3:18 pm

      Since CO2 in the atmosphere is in equilibrium with that in the ocean , the CO2 removed will be replaced from the excess (about 40,000GT by one estimate) in the ocean . And the ultimate destination of the CO2 removed from the atmosphere (which has been replaced by that in the ocean ) is – the ocean.
      To get it back to where it originated apparently requires either sodium hydroxide (from electrolysis of seawater?) or slaked lime , obtained by calcination of chalk / limestone , with subsequent liberation of CO2.
      Do you have to be a Mad Hatter to work at the BBC or do you start off as an intelligent , educated young person and then gradually devolve into a total loony.

    • Broadlands permalink
      March 12, 2023 3:44 pm

      But, following NASA’s James Hansen’s safe amount (back to 350 ppm) we would have to take out and safely store somewhere ~70 ppm or ~545 Gt CO2. And that process will add to what is already out there because ICE vehicles will be doing all the “heavy lifting”.

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 12, 2023 4:39 pm

        Apparently all we need to do is billions of tonnes of powdered basalt onto soil. If so I’ve got to wonder what is the panic about, because it seems to have a simple solution. Each tonne of basalt absorbs about 0.33 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. It is a soil improver and fertilizer, so a win-win.

      • Broadlands permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:10 pm

        Tons of basalt or carbonates, CO2 buried under pressure. Regardless of what is tried at any meaningful scale to mitigate a climate conventional transportation will be required. Thus, more CO2 will be added to what is already there. There is no viable alternative for transportation.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 4:48 pm

        And according to Dalton’s Law, every molecule of CO2 will rapidly be replaced by a molecule from that vast repository of CO2, the ocean.

        In any case, where are you going to get the billions of tons of powdered basalt from?

        Oh, and by the way, mankind can no more control the Earth’s climate than control the time of sunrise and sunset.

  13. Tim Leeney permalink
    March 12, 2023 12:31 pm

    “Unstoppable global momentum” Where? China?

    • March 12, 2023 7:08 pm

      China will be selling the West the rope with which to hang itself, Tim.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 7:38 pm

        I think you’ll find they already have.

      • Tim Leeney permalink
        March 12, 2023 9:39 pm

        It already is.

  14. David L. Cox permalink
    March 12, 2023 12:37 pm

    The hydrogen powered vehicle pipedream is encouraged by badly thought through articles such as this.
    We are becoming familiar with tanks and other military vehicles ” brewing up” under attack by modern weaponry in Ukraine; imagine the same with the additional explosive power of a large tank of 700 bar hydrogen! Military applications of hydrogen power in such vehicles is a non starter in so many ways.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      March 12, 2023 12:59 pm

      It would be fine. With no hydrogen supply the tanks would never get fuelled in the first place.

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 12, 2023 3:14 pm

      It would eliminate burial expenses.

    • Matt Dalby permalink
      March 12, 2023 11:35 pm

      Why not make all military vehicles electric. We already have fighter jets that can be refuelled mid air, surely someone of Jeremy’s calibre could easily invent fighters that can be recharged in the air.

  15. It doesn't add up... permalink
    March 12, 2023 12:42 pm

    The cost of wind energy comes from the cost of building the wind farms, plus maintenance including spare blades etc., and the cost of grid expansion to support them. Almost all the cost depends on imports, and our dependence on China for supplies both directly and as the source of key materials and components is very high. So it reduces our energy security, and worsens our balance of payments.

  16. Nicholas Lewis permalink
    March 12, 2023 12:44 pm

    There is not a cats chance that the 50GW offshore wind is going to be achieved in 20230 the previous 40GW target was already unachievable and thats before renewable energy inflation t0ook off ruining the economics. Fortunately the planning system and environmental requirements are so heinous it ensures that even offshore windfarms will take years to get approval let alone built. Of course this is just as well as the NG transmission system is so inadequate now that constraint payments are nigh on 2B/yr. If govt is going to be serious about this it needs to take full control of planning power generation along with transmission upgrades so as to minimise constraint payments.
    So my take is actually govt is a lot less serious about this than we give them credit doing just enough to get a few headlines.

    PS: oh and even on a day with 14GW of wind all i/cs are in import mode even France because the farcical way electricity is priced in this country. They could fix that overnight but they wont.

  17. Chris Phillips permalink
    March 12, 2023 1:07 pm

    So Jeremy Warner thinks it might be a good idea for the Govt to mandate that all future defence procurement of military vehicles are EVs or hydrogen powered. He’s in fairy land! Has he considered how military EVs would be recharged on the battlefield? Do we ask our oponents to leave off attacking us for a bit so we can go back to base to get a charge up? As for hydrogen power, where’s the hydrogen going to come from and exactly how will it power military vehicles?

    • kzbkzb permalink
      March 12, 2023 2:46 pm

      It’s possible to make synthetic hydrocarbon fuels from electrolytic hydrogen plus CO2 out of the atmosphere. As noted in the recent Royal Society report on zero carbon aircraft.
      Basically this is using atmospheric carbon as a carrier for hydrogen. Makes it safer, more energy dense (by volume) and easier to handle. Famously, there is more hydrogen in a litre of hydrocarbon fuel than there is in a litre of liquid hydrogen.
      It’s financially and energy expensive though.

      • Chris Phillips permalink
        March 12, 2023 3:26 pm

        An interesting research project but I doubt that synthetic hydrocarbons will ever be made in the quantities needed to replace all oil consumption in the world, even if we can find enough non fossil fuel energy to do it.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:03 pm

        “It’s interesting….”
        But why??

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:06 pm

        Sorry, that was meant to say, ‘It’s possible…’ in response to bzbkzb

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:20 pm

        “Basically this is using atmospheric carbon as a carrier for hydrogen”

        I see…
        As I only started my career many years ago as a chemical engineer, please explain to me:

        A) What is “atmospheric carbon”.
        B) How it is extracted from the atmosphere.
        C) How this “atmospheric carbon” will carry hydrogen.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        March 12, 2023 9:34 pm

        Why not make the hydrogen from brown coal? It’s much cheaper than electrolysis which would also be at a further disadvantage when electricity costs more.
        The process also generates its own ‘carbon’ oxides which can be reacted with the hydrogen to make fuel (and quite a number of useful chemicals). Known technology since the 1930’s.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 9:48 pm

        AKA the Fischer-Tropsch process.
        Allied with in-situ coal gasification, of course!

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        March 12, 2023 10:14 pm

        “Famously, there is more hydrogen in a litre of hydrocarbon fuel than there is in a litre of liquid hydrogen.”
        Energy density of LIQUID hydrogen is 141.86MJ/kg (HHV) or 119.93MJ/kg (LHV). Energy Density of Methane is 55.6MJ/kg and
        a liquid hydrocarbon such as petrol is 46.4MJ/kg.
        so what exactly are you trying to say?

      • March 12, 2023 10:36 pm

        A technical discussion irrelevant to reality.
        That is to use fossil fuels, without tears.
        Opposition is based on favlse premises.

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 12, 2023 10:15 pm

        A: CO2
        B: there are various options out there for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere.
        C: with the C-H chemical bond.

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 12, 2023 10:22 pm

        Ray Sanders: you give energy density in units of energy per unit mass. I wasn’t really discussing that. I am saying if you work out the mass of hydrogen in a litre of hydrocarbon versus the mass of hydrogen in liquid hydrogen, the mass in the litre of hydrocarbon is the greater of the two. Carbon is basically acting as a hydrogen carrier. Most of the energy of combustion of the HC comes from the formation of the water molecule.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        March 12, 2023 10:34 pm

        kzbkzb “I am saying if you work out the mass of hydrogen in a litre of hydrocarbon versus the mass of hydrogen in liquid hydrogen, the mass in the litre of hydrocarbon is the greater of the two.”
        You do seem somewhat confused.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 10:43 pm

        You entirely ignore the difference in energy density by volume and the necessity to store the hydrogen at very high pressure, cryogenic temperature or a combination of both, thus requiring heavy pressure vessels or a lot of insulation.

        There is also the problem of the plumbing necessary with hydrogen, note that even NASA with their huge experience have problems getting that right, note how they had to delay the launch of their latest mega rocket a few weeks ago due to hydrogen leakage.

        As for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere at a concentration of 0.04% thus requiring pumping of huge volumes of gas requiring significant energy, would it not be more efficient to extract it from the stack gas of the many and varied devices that burn hydrocarbons?,from%20other%20flue%20gas%20sources.

        If it isn’t a rude question, have you any qualifications or practical experience in physical chemistry and/or chemical engineering?

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 13, 2023 12:34 am

        Graeme No.3: using coal as the source of carbon makes it pointless. No CO2 saving.

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 13, 2023 12:37 am

        Ray Sanders: a litre of hydrocarbon contains more hydrogen by mass than a litre of liquid hydrogen.

      • Vernon E permalink
        March 13, 2023 10:57 am

        Hydrogen from brown coal? The Fischer Tropsch process? Cat et al. I worked on the Mossel Bay (RSA) project to make synthesis gas from natural gas (F-T Provcess) and became familiar with the SASOL 1 & 2 plants (petrol from coal – same technology). Its a filthy process producing vast quantities of foul “reaction water”. Mossel Bay closed soon after it was built and I don’t know weherther the SASOL plants are still operating. But there will NEVER be another application of this technology.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 13, 2023 4:18 pm

        “But there will NEVER be another application of this technology.”

        You reckon?

        Sorry to disagree with you again Vernon, but Fischer Tropsch is alive and well in countries such as South Africa with little or no native hydrocarbons, and there are many other places it is working very nicely.

        See the section “Commercialization” here:

        I think you’ll find that with the clampdown on oil and gas production good old Fischer Tropsch is becoming increasingly popular for production of fuels such as biodiesel in fact!

        Production of Fischer-Tropsch Synfuels at Nuclear Plants

        Click to access Sort_63673.pdf

      • Vernon E permalink
        March 14, 2023 4:15 pm

        Cat: You didn’t read my comment. F-T in RSA is history. When it was reluctantly adopted by Mossgas in the 80s it was because the US under Delham’s Law blocked the Mobil-gas-to-gaso;line technology and Fluor offered to dust down the old SASOL drawings and build the old F-T technology. What an utter disaster that was and cost the SA treasury billions.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 14, 2023 7:58 pm

        In fact Vernon, I think you failed to follow my links from 2019 – 2022, which demonstrate very clearly that Fischer Tropsch plant development is alive and well.

      • kzbkzb permalink
        March 14, 2023 8:55 pm

        Ray Sanders: you give energy density in units of kg. Notice I said energy per litre. Google VOLUMETRIC energy density.

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 13, 2023 9:54 am

      ‘all future defence procurement of military vehicles are EVs or hydrogen powered’

      Gamecock has often said that as you destroy your economy, you will become unable to afford a military, and you will be invaded by Norway or Denmark.

      Why wait til then? Just switch your military over to renewables now! It would likely be your shortest path to return to normalcy. Waiting for your politicians to ease out of their self-induced conundrum may take a long time.

  18. March 12, 2023 2:51 pm

    He misses totally that the first Industrial Revolution was successful because it broad forward a massive increase in human productivity. The steam engine not only cheapened the manufacture of goods, it also produced a massive reduction of transportation costs and a huge increase in the speed of delivery.
    The currently proposed transition does the opposite, it greatly increases operating costs because the Victorian technology of electricity generation and, its transmission is not suitable for maintaining an energy source based on ‘renewables’. It is obvious that private motor vehicles will become the prerogative of the rich, we will have to use public transport. The supply of electrical energy will no longer be continuous and subject to the wims of the weather in many areas of the country. Many of the facilities we now take for granted will be diminished or, become so expensive that again, only the well heeled can afford them. The largest single user of electricity on the planet is the huge array of servers that constitutes the internet. That, unless there is a huge investment in ‘no break’ systems, could become increasingly unreliable.
    The pre-industrial revolution population of this planet were well aware of the limitations of renewables – they lived with them! Ships could not sail in contrary winds and bad weather, wind and water power controlled the production of most goods, transportation by carriers cart drawn by horses was slow and very expensive.
    It is good management procedure, before you embark on an untested change in organisation and delivery, to carry out a risk assessment. I have yet to see one for this proposed transition from fossil fuels.

    • Dave Andrews permalink
      March 12, 2023 5:20 pm

      “Carry out a risk assessment”

      You mean just like the Climate Change Committee didn’t ?

      The Commons Public Accounts Committee Report ‘Achieving Net Zero: Follow Up’ (April 2022) noted HM Treasury witnesses were reluctant to be drawn on the future costs of net zero cautioning that “the Climate Change Committee estimates contain ‘heroic assumptions’ with errors potentially compounding over very long periods”

      • March 12, 2023 10:08 pm

        Are the CCC “heroically” corruptible as alleged often but spared prosecution?

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 12, 2023 10:22 pm

        Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

  19. Bill Francis permalink
    March 12, 2023 3:05 pm

    Given that fossil fuel resources will, at some time in the future – who knows when – cease, due to exhaustion of supply or cost of extraction, why has nobody invented another method for power generation? Solar and wind may be feasible at a domestic scale, but useless at providing reliable grid power – and in any case they need fossil fuelled industries for manufacture. So where are the Nikola Teslas of the twenty-first century – or have the power generator businesses bought up all the patents and locked them away?

    • Gamecock permalink
      March 12, 2023 3:17 pm

      It’s not their time, Bill.

      The future will solve such problems . . . when they become actual problems.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 12, 2023 4:02 pm

      Using modern prospecting and extraction techniques there are hundreds – perhaps thousands of years’ worth of available petroleum resources left as yet unexplored and untouched.

      Then, using the steerable drilling techniques used for shale extraction and in situ gasification which produces synthesis gas, feedstock for the Fischer-Tropsch coal to oil process, there are billions – perhaps trillions – of tons of coal accessible in the UK alone.

      And then there is the vast amount of methane available as hydrate on the ocean bed and in the arctic permafrost which is even now being investigated with a view to commercial exploitation, see here: “At the same time, new technologies are being developed in Germany that may be useful for exploring and extracting the hydrates.

      The basic idea is very simple: the methane (CH4) is harvested from the hydrates by replacing it with CO2. Laboratory studies show that this is possible in theory because liquid carbon dioxide reacts spontaneously with methane hydrate. If this concept could become economically viable, it would be a win-win situation, because the gas exchange in the hydrates would be attractive both from a financial and a climate perspective.”

      So don’t worry, we won’t have to worry about energy for centuries – perhaps millennia, by which time we’ll have much more efficient energy technology, for example someone will get fusion going sooner or later.

      • March 12, 2023 8:27 pm

        Providence having endowed us with almost unlmited energy sources we, except those out East, are inestimably foolish to abandon the most practical of those resources on the basis of flimsy and/or faulty evidence from people riddled with ignorace and corruption.
        These include so many politicos that to reverse such folly may be with us for years.

      • Carnot permalink
        March 13, 2023 11:18 am

        The usual cut and paste of out of date data. Yest the are billions of tonnes of fossil fuels but the easy stuff is gone. We are now swimming against the energy tide and most of those billions of tonnes will stay in the gound because the energy inputs will exceed the energy outout (EROI). As for coal gasification just show me one example of viable in-situ coal gasification. It is a concept and concepts are not proof of viability. Trying to control the in-situ combustion underground is nigh impossible. Worse still the gas composition will have to be adjusted for the correct ratio of hydrogen :CO. This is analogous to fusion- always 40 years away. How many FT (Fisher Tropsch) plants are there globally? Les than 10 and most are bonsai. There is much hope about this technology but little progress because the plant costs are beyond sky high. Did Sasol build an FT in the US to use cheap shale gas. Answer No. Their shiney new steam cracker nearly busted them.
        Then we get to the weazle’s methane hydrates. Billions of tonnes just waiting to be hoovered up. Right. That article was from 2010 and is still being cited as evidence of a rosy hydrocarbon future. Snag is where is the progress? 12 years on nothing has changed. It exists but the quantities are not well defined and the technology to recover methane hydrates is still in the lab, where most likely it will stay simply because the EROI will be negative.
        There are no simple drop in replacements for highly fungible low entropy fossil fuels all of which were created by photosynthesis millions of years ago – not even the eco unfriendly biofuels dreamed up by biofools. Nature did all the heavy conversion to oil, gas and coal. We now have to find sources of reliable, affordable energy which is no simple task, even less affordable. Meanwhile the population increases.
        Nice try weazle but is a definite Yawn. Time to do some proper research instead of cut and paste ancient history.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 13, 2023 5:01 pm

        Give it up carnot, you haven’t a clue what you’re wittering about, son.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 13, 2023 5:10 pm

        Concerning methane hydrate, just one example of how wrong and behind the times you are:

        Global Methane Hydrate Extraction Market – Industry Trends and Forecast to 2029

        Market Analysis and Size

        The rise in the need to reduce dependency on the renewable source of energy has increased the focus on the use of Methane Hydrate. End users are investing on various sources to produce natural gas at a large scale. The compound methane hydrate is known to have more energy than gas, oil and coal combined. This compound is widely being used in the storage of natural gas, carbon dioxide disposal, gas separation, and desalination.

        Global Methane Hydrate Extraction Market was valued at USD 42769.81 thousand cubic meter in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 71317.3188 cubic meter by 2029, registering a CAGR of 6.60% during the forecast period of 2022-2029. Seabed accounts for the largest source segment in the respective market owing to the presence of large quantities in seabed globally. In addition to the market insights such as market value, growth rate, market segments, geographical coverage, market players, and market scenario, the market report curated by the Data Bridge Market Research team also includes in-depth expert analysis, import/export analysis, pricing analysis, production consumption analysis, and climate chain scenario.,forecast%20period%20of%202022%2D2029.

        Here’s another, from 2022:

        And another:
        Gas Hydrates Market Projected to Hit USD 3149.2 Billion by 2028 growing at 4.5% CAGR – Report by Vantage Market Research

        You really do need to keep up, try doing some proper research instead of sitting around name-calling!

      • Vernon E permalink
        March 14, 2023 4:19 pm

        Cat: I have always found Carnot’s comments accurate and relevant. I think you need to think a bit about what you say , the way you throw your weight around on this site.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 14, 2023 8:05 pm

        Some quotes from Carnot:
        “The usual cut and paste of out of date data.”
        Proven wrong.

        “Nice try weazle but is a definite Yawn. Time to do some proper research instead of cut and paste ancient history.
        Once again, proven wrong by my very relevant, up-to-date links.

        It’s not me “throwing my weight about”, sunshine.

      • Vernon E permalink
        March 15, 2023 11:14 am

        Cat: your address to serious professionals as “son” and “sunshine” is disrespectrful and out of order. If you want to be taken seriously (which is unlikely, the drivel you post) you need to up youir game.

      • catweazle666 permalink
        March 15, 2023 4:53 pm

        Although now retired I used to be a serious professional myself, a consultant with clients from Tokyo to Texas and clients including Lucas Aerospace and General Motors, so go patronise someone else, you sad, boring little man.

    • chriskshaw permalink
      March 12, 2023 4:16 pm

      Indeed. Why we are determining the best option of nuclear and standardizing on it, and deploying in vast quantities is a mystery to me. At least we’d have high density despatchable base load power and fewer dead.

      • Phoenix44 permalink
        March 13, 2023 9:27 am

        How have “we” determined that?

        The best way is almost certainly to be discovered by lots of oeopie trying lots of different things, some of which may be new or innovative. Turns out the best way to provide music is Spotify, not a Walkman. Who knew when the Walkman was the technology?

      • chriskshaw permalink
        March 13, 2023 12:20 pm

        Sorry, bit impaired.
        Why are we not determining the best…
        Ignore co2 warming, but for long term frugality. It is finite.
        I am ok with Cat’s thought on hydrates. If energy in is SMR…and energy out is methane. Methane has many uses more valuable than electrical power gen., eg. Fertilizer

    • March 13, 2023 1:08 am

      When the government (power) decides that a certain course of action is mandatory, it doesn’t matter what the best option is. It is one of the beauties of socialism in that it sows the seeds of its own destruction by ignoring market realities.

  20. frankobaysio permalink
    March 12, 2023 3:25 pm

    The UK Government have today published the agreement between UK and France regarding future Energy Co-operation which will resolve our Energy problems ……?

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 12, 2023 4:11 pm

      The French making an agreement that will supposedly benefit the UK?
      I thought I’d noticed a lot of flying pig activity recently.

      • frankobaysio permalink
        March 12, 2023 5:41 pm

        I like to try to be ironic, but the implications of all this Net Zero is so serious it is difficult to keep a sense of humour…..

  21. Harry Passfield permalink
    March 12, 2023 3:51 pm

    “…now that the internal combustion engine is to be assigned to the dustbin of history (by law)”….is when I stopped listening to him.
    If the ‘law’ said that every third-born should be put to the sword, would he have his third child (if he had one) killed? Laws like that caused a war in 1939.

  22. ancientpopeye permalink
    March 12, 2023 4:20 pm

    “another of the Government’s claimed objectives, net zero by 2050.”

    The government of that day will have to ignore it just like China, India Germany and the USA does and build some coal fired PS.

  23. Andrew permalink
    March 12, 2023 4:26 pm

    Is there not a problem in that ‘we’ have signed international agreements giving away the power of Parliament: to the WHO if they decree there is another pandemic and over Net Zero policy in the Brexit agreement?

  24. Phil O'Sophical permalink
    March 12, 2023 5:30 pm

    “Why were they not demanding that Parliament properly cost Net Zero.”

    No. Move back one step. Why were they not demanding that Parliament challenge the narrative that Net Zero is necessary at all?

    That’s rhetorical of course. We all know.

    • March 12, 2023 11:39 pm

      It is obvious thar Net Zero is neither necessary nor acceptable by us in UK. Arebellion is justified but likely won’t happen, yet.
      Futile, total self harm like such is best avoided like the plague.
      However, it is up to its proponents to make a convincing case.
      They have never even tried to do that.
      Like almost everything in this field, it is based on illusory fears-imaginary hobgoblins-as H.L.Mencken called them-to keep politicians in power, the corrupt in money and the gullible population in fear.
      So far, a tremendously, irrationally successful, ruinous scam.
      And not only Ed. Miliband is to blame-even the Royal Society, infringing its motto, “Nullius in Verba”-take no-one’s word for it !!

  25. gezza1298 permalink
    March 12, 2023 6:57 pm

    Citing the dribbling fool Dementia Joe’s inflation inducing act of stupidity as something we should follow is not very bright. Perhaps the backstory of the collapse of SVB should come as warning as it looks like it was heavily into funding these green fantasies alongside being totally woke.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      March 12, 2023 7:03 pm

      The collapse of SVB could get very – er interesting very fast.

      The biggest landslide can be started by the smallest pebble bouncing down the hill.

    • March 13, 2023 1:13 am

      The Emperor Has Clothes is still the mantra of the glitterati and Deep State. It will stay that way until the inevitable nut-cutting starts. Sadly, that is so far down the road that it will not matter to anybody alive today.

  26. Mark Hodgson permalink
    March 12, 2023 7:26 pm

    An extraordinary article by Jeremy Warner, seemingly recognising the futility of net zero yet apparently demanding that the government pursues it anyway. He mentions Cloud Cuckoo Land, but I suspect our politicians aren’t the only ones inhabiting it. Speaking of which:

    Cloud Cuckoo Land


    Cloud Cuckoo Land – Part 2

  27. March 12, 2023 7:30 pm

    Warner wants to spend trillions? At least arm waving is free.

  28. M Fraser permalink
    March 12, 2023 8:19 pm

    So when the battery is kaput in these battery vehicles there two choices a) a new (very expensive battery or b) scrap the car, neither at all ‘green’. I cannot possibly see a market for second hand battery cars, who would buy one? Used batteries are useless! I suppose no dodgy used car salesmen is a plus?

  29. Chris permalink
    March 13, 2023 1:25 am

    This is the what happens when engineers and scientists are ignored by politicians with PPE degrees from Oxford, who think that fairytale policies have no implementation problems.

  30. March 13, 2023 8:26 am

    Mr Warner’s analysis of the problems and requirements to net zero seem reasonable but his belief that the technologies such as carbon capture and hydrogen will solve them is simply absurd. Again it is typical of current journalists who simply have no understanding on technical matters and believe the hype that is put out by the various ‘green’ technoligists who will make money from what they advocate.

  31. Phoenix44 permalink
    March 13, 2023 9:22 am

    This is complete nonsense. The UK will be far better off allowing others to invest and find out what works and what does not rather than trying to “lead”. Once we know what’s worthwhile and how to do stuff, we can either buy or build. This bizarre wholly uneconomic idea we must have the “new” jobs is absurd.

  32. Gamecock permalink
    March 13, 2023 10:12 am

    From ‘While others race ahead’ link:

    ‘impact of the US’s ambitious climate legislation – the Inflation Reduction Act’

    It’s double stupid. Spending money to reduce inflation (!). And this ‘ambitious climate legislation’ is just another gifting of tax payer money to Friends of Obama.

    Warner’s ignorance is palpable.

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