THE Committee on Climate Change, the quango headed by our old friend John Gummer. has just published its latest cunning plan to bankrupt the UK. The Sixth Carbon Budget lays out how we should meet our decarbonisation targets, with specific emphasis on the period 2032-2037.
For the first time they have included estimates of what all of this might cost us in the 2030s. Dressed up in percentages of GDP, talk of green jobs and claims of the economic growth it will all spawn, the CCC have attempted to obscure how much we are all actually going to have to fork out.
They reckon that their plan will involve spending around £50billion annually by 2030, which equates to nearly £2,000 for every home in the country. But, as we shall see, even that figure is based on some highly optimistic (some would argue unrealistically so) assumptions.
They say that the £50billion could be marginally offset by savings on electric cars. But it turns out that these are based on a combination of Enron-style accounting and absurdly fanciful assumptions about falling prices of electric cars.
There is, of course, much jam promised tomorrow, or more precisely 2050, when half of us will be dead. But it’s not what might happen in thirty years that matters to people, it’s the here and now.
What will all this mean to the man in the street?
As we already know, the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030. According to the CCC, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) currently cost a third more than conventional cars, typically a premium of £6,400.
However, the CCC grandly assume that by 2030 BEVs will cost no more; all of this on the basis that the cost of BEV batteries will drop by two thirds in the next ten years, for which there is not the slightest evidence. Of course, if BEVs do become a lot cheaper, drivers will be queueing up to buy them, and the government won’t need to ban conventional cars!
The CCC also dishonestly include something called ‘carbon costs’ in their running costs for petrol/diesel cars, which amounts to £200 a year per car, or £7billion for the country as a whole. There is, of course, no such a thing as a ‘cost of carbon’, which is included only to make low-carbon alternatives appear more competitive.
When these factors, along with doubts about the second-hand value of BEVs, are taken into account, most of the CCC’s fictitious savings disappear. All the more significant because those drivers who are forced to use public chargers are already finding their cars to be dearer than petrol ones to run.
We then come to heating our homes, with proposals that sales of gas boilers are banned by 2033. For most homes this will mean replacement with air source heat pumps, which typically cost around £10,000 to install and require thousands more to be spent on insulation if they are to work effectively.
Quite where ordinary families are expected to get this money from is not explained! To make matters worse, because electricity costs five times as much as natural gas in terms of energy, householders will find that their heating bills double as well.
And if we choose to carry on using our old gas boilers? Simples – we will have a stonking carbon tax added to our gas bills instead.
Not only are we expected to pay out thousands to meet carbon targets, but we are also told we must eat a third less red meat and dairy produce, drive our cars less and take fewer flights. Not that we will be able to afford any of these pleasures after the CCC have done with us.
Eating less meat and dairy will of course cause great damage to British farming, as well as pushing up food bills for poorer families.
And how will we actually power all of these new electric cars and heat pumps? By 2035, we will need nearly twice as much electricity as now, two thirds of which will be coming from wind and solar power, according to the CCC. This is four times the amount of power they generate now.
And when the wind does not blow and the sun does not shine? We will have to fall back on gas power stations, with the proviso that they can capture and store the carbon dioxide produced, even though nowhere in the world has managed to do this at scale.
Central to the case for wind power is that the cost of offshore wind has fallen so much that it is now competitive. However, independent experts who have looked at the published accounts of companies building these wind farms maintain that these so-called falling costs are illusory, and that the real costs could be triple those of conventional power generators. If they are right, this would add another £20billion a year to the CCC’s plan.
No longer are these plans decades in the future. Within the space of a very few years, people will begin to experience the financial pain inflicted on them by these proposals, if they are allowed to go ahead.
And all for what?
The UK accounts for only 1 per cent of global emissions, so whatever we do will have no effect at all on the climate. Meanwhile, despite Covid, this year China has continued to build new coal power stations, increasing its generating capacity by 3 per cent. In the last two years the rise in China’s emissions of carbon dioxide has exceeded our total emissions.