How Deben’s Climate Change Committee misled Parliament
THE 2008 Climate Change Act established the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), an independent statutory body, to advise government and Parliament. Its chair is Lord Deben, formerly known as John Selwyn Gummer.
It was never really independent, being packed from the start with people desperate to push through their decarbonisation agenda regardless of the cost and damage.
When Parliament enacted Net Zero legislation in 2019, it was advised by the CCC that the cost of achieving net zero emissions would be modest: 1 to 2 per cent of GDP by 2050. This always stretched credulity, given the known massive costs involved for decarbonising homes, upgrading the electricity grid, hydrogen networks and so on.
But when the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) requested the detailed costings from the CCC under the Freedom of Information Act, the latter refused to release them. Instead they wasted tens of thousands of taxpayers’ money fighting the case for two years, until being forced to hand them over by the Information Tribunal.
The contents of the data are a bombshell, revealing that the CCC had grossly underestimated costs. It is little wonder they fought tooth and nail to keep them secret. Their documents reveal that, even by CCC figures, Net Zero will cost the country £1.5trillion over 30 years.
The GWPF are still working through the data, but have already revealed how the CCC used the most absurdly optimistic assumptions for electric cars (EVs). According to the committee’s projections, the cost of a small EV would already have dropped to £13,000 by now (excluding VAT and EV grants). In reality they cost twice as much.
The GWPF reckon that even if EVs do eventually drop in price, the bill for Net Zero could rise by £60,000 per household, bringing the total cost to over £3trillion over the next thirty years.
There is, I suspect, a lot more to come. We know, for instance, that the CCC worked on extremely optimistic costings for offshore wind which are not justified by the actual data freely available. They have also unrealistically assumed large reductions in energy consumption, which they say should offset some of the extra costs.
But even as it stands now, the Net Zero agenda is clearly unaffordable for the country. Parliament has been badly misled by Deben’s committee, and should now pluck up the courage to put a halt to the whole Net Zero programme and wind up the Committee on Climate Change.
Skyrocketing electricity prices
There have been a lot of crocodile tears amongst our political establishment concerning recent energy price rises. But they cover up the fact that this is exactly what successive governments have been planning for years.
The story starts with the introduction in 2005 of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). This sets an emissions cap or limit on the total emissions allowed by all ETS operators, but within that limit the carbon market allows participants in the system to buy and sell allowances as they require. The system covers both the power sector and large industrial users.
The system was designed specifically to force cheap fossil fuels out of the energy mix. Since Brexit, the UK has introduced its own system of carbon allowances and pricing, designed to track the EU’s.
For years however, carbon prices remained so low as to make little difference. In 2015, for instance, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC, mentioned above), called for a massive rise in carbon prices from around £10 to £80/tonne CO2 by 2030. In 2018, the UK’s Department for Business concurred, setting its own target for how this should be phased in.
The CCC argued that by 2030 this carbon pricing would more than double the cost of gas-generated electricity from £52 to £111/MWh. Only by doing this would renewable electricity be able to compete.
The cost of carbon pricing would of course be added to energy bills. Currently the UK carbon price stands at £52/tonne, so there is clearly still a lot more pain to come.
Consumers are already paying £12billion a year through their bills to subsidise renewable energy, and this figure will increase greatly as more offshore wind capacity is built. The cost is likely to double if Boris Johnson’s vision of 40 GW of offshore wind capacity comes to fruition, along with the new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point coming on stream.
In short, although power prices may fall back in the short term, current government policy is condemning us to a permanent future of electricity prices much higher than even now.
And it is not only electricity. The outlawing of natural gas will also lead to a massive rise in energy costs. Replacement with hydrogen, for instance, could triple householders’ heating bills.
All of this was foretold by Barack Obama, who let the cat out of the bag before his election when he said: ‘Under my plan, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.’
Our consumer society has been built around the availability of abundant and cheap energy. It is this very consumption that the environmental elite are targeting in their attack on fossil fuels.
Why do greens let China off the hook?
It has always been puzzling why eco-loons consistently let China off the hook over its carbon dioxide emissions. Not only are their emissions the world’s highest, accounting for a third of global carbon dioxide, they are still growing rapidly. On a per capita basis, China’s emissions are higher than the UK’s.
So the other day, the BBC’s ‘environment analyst’ Roger Harrabin went to his chums in the green movement, such as Extinction Rebellion, WWF and Friends of the Earth, to find the answer.
Basically their replies centred around:
• China will shut down our offices if we make trouble;
• If we do protest, it will play into the hands of those wicked Right-wingers;
• It would perpetuate anti-Chinese racist stereotypes;
• The West is to blame for making the world so much richer because it started the Industrial Revolution;
• It’s not China’s fault but ours, because we import their goods.
The consensus was that a few polite banners saying ‘China – please save the climate!’ or ‘Great Helmsman, please cut emissions for our children’ would do the job.
This is all very perplexing. I thought this was all about saving the planet, not playing silly little green political games. Obviously we are not heading for a climate apocalypse after all.
Polar bears doing fine
Polar bears have long been the poster child of the climate change movement, with faked images of bears starving and drowning because of global warming, and scare stories of how they would all die out as the ice melted.
It is not a straightforward task counting polar bears because the blighters won’t keep still. Nevertheless, survey after survey shows that, far from shrinking as forecast, populations are increasing across the Arctic. Indeed, there are probably twice as many as there were in the 1960s.
The latest study was carried out last year on Wrangel Island, a regular haunt in the Chukchi Sea off eastern Siberia. Russian researchers counted a record 747 bears, up from 589 in 2017.
As with other studies, the bears were said to be fat and healthy.
Good news for polar bears, but bad news for seals!