Government responded to “Hold a referendum on whether to keep the 2050 net zero target”

At a little after midnight, I got an email. Some time ago I dutifully signed a petition for a referendum on Net Zero, with absolutely no hope that one would ever materialise. The mail was our government’s response. They said no. The quotes below are from the BEIS message. My responses are in-line.

National referendums are a mechanism to endorse major constitutional change; debates about national policy are best determined through Parliamentary democracy and the holding of elections.

Jit responds: all parties had substantially the same position on this subject, so don’t give me that.

The government made a key manifesto commitment to reach “Net Zero by 2050 with investment in clean energy solutions and green infrastructure to reduce carbon emissions and pollution”. It was one of the top six pledges in the government’s manifesto, alongside policy commitments to help achieve the target. The net zero target was passed into law by Parliament with strong cross-Party support.

Yes, you had cross-party support. It was hardly debated. Few of our MPs were or even are fully aware of the consequences of that decision, beyond its obvious benefits for signalling how virtuous they were. Do not come here and pretend that carbon dioxide = pollution. There are lots of kinds of pollution that people who oppose net zero would endorse strong controls on. This has nothing to do with a molecule upon which all life on Earth depends, one which is NOT A POLLUTANT.

It is clear that public concern about climate change is high, having doubled since 2016, with 80% of people in the UK either concerned or very concerned (BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker Wave 37, 2021). We also know that people and businesses recognise that change must happen – 80% of respondents in a recent survey believe the way we live our lives will need to change to address climate change (BEIS, Climate change and net zero: public awareness and perceptions, 2021). In the same survey, after being provided with information on net zero, 78% of all participants said they strongly or somewhat supported the net zero target.

That the public is concerned about climate change is not remarkable considering the entirely one-sided nature of coverage of climate change by government and media. The chance to move towards a more even-handed coverage is one reason why a referendum is essential. We cannot make rational decisions if valid criticisms are suppressed, as they are now. [Are you sure that the “information on net zero” that you provided was squeaky clean?]

Moving away from fossil fuels and towards net zero gives us the unprecedented opportunity to:

– Create and secure thousands of well-paid, quality jobs across the UK, helping to level up the country. Tackling net zero will create thousands long-term jobs in our reindustrialised heartlands.

This is your fantasy. It is not reality. The jobs, if they exist, will go to countries where labour and energy costs are lower.

– Build a more secure, home-grown energy sector based on nuclear, wind, hydrogen and solar that is not reliant on imported fossil fuels, providing consumers with affordable, reliable energy for warmer homes and workplaces.

I’m glad to see that finally nuclear is first in this list. The other three items are next to useless for a variety of reasons of which you should be aware if you are doing your jobs.

– Reduce harmful pollution which contaminates our air and our natural environment to improve our health and wellbeing, as well as that of future generations.

Again we conflate pollution with carbon dioxide emissions.

– Attract investment into UK businesses and industry, revitalising our industrial heartlands while driving down the costs of key technologies – from electric vehicles to heat pumps – to reduce bills and give the UK a competitive edge. Since the launch of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan we have secured £5.8bn in green foreign investment.

This is your fantasy again. There is no way that heat pumps are better than gas central heating. Nor is there the slightest scope for reducing bills by a margin wide enough to make investment in heat pumps viable for the average British family. The green foreign investment is predicated on government subsidies, not on a genuine appraisal of a policy neutral business opportunity.

Recent volatile international gas prices have demonstrated that we need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. We need to protect consumers and businesses from global gas prices by increasing our domestic energy security through clean power that is generated in the UK for the people of the UK.

The volatile gas prices demonstrate that we need to reduce our reliance on IMPORTS OF fossil fuels. I think you are beginning to troll me now: you can’t really believe what you just wrote, surely?

Taking action on climate is also crucial to strengthening the UK’s place in the global economy as we Build Back Better from the pandemic. The whole world is trying to capitalise on the benefits of going greener, investing in innovative new technology, building new industries, and creating quality jobs in sustainable sectors.

This soundbite scarcely warrants a reply. If the new technology is so great, it will displace the existing technology WITHOUT ANY GOVERNMENT POLICY ON NET ZERO. If it is worse, you will have to ram it down our necks, as you are doing now.

Our transition to net zero we will be tech-led using the best of British technology and innovation – just as we did in the last industrial revolution – to help make homes and buildings warmer, the air cleaner and our journeys greener, all while creating thousands of jobs in new future-proof industries.

The industrial revolution came from bureaucratic mandates? You’re joking, right? Do not try to draw parallels between the industrial revolution and this green madness, especially not with such appalling English. If you can’t fit everything into one sentence, just start a new one. You’ll need another noun.

Transitioning to net zero is not about telling people what to do or stopping people doing things; it’s about giving them the support they need to do the same things they do now but in a more sustainable way.

YOU ARE YANKING MY CHAIN. What is the banning of ICE cars if not telling people what to do? What is banning gas boilers? Your plan will reduce our freedom. For you to try to reframe this as supporting us to do the same things as now but more sustainably is laughable.

We must seize the moment to get a head start on this worldwide green industrial revolution and ensure UK industries, workers and the wider public benefit. Taking action now will put us at the forefront of large, expanding global markets and allow us to capitalise on export opportunities in low carbon technologies and services.

Taking action now will make us less competitive. Worse, it won’t have any effect on global temperatures. If you believe otherwise, please tell us. My estimate is that if the UK disappeared today, the net effect on global temperatures would be that the increase by 2100 would be reduced by 0.01 K. What is your estimate?

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Don’t you mean Department for Bankruptcies, Power Cuts and Industrial Destruction?


  1. I have responded to this farcical Government response by asking my local MP to inform me of the process to bring about criminal proceedings against the Government for this ideological path of lies. Across some period of time now, I have contacted all of the Government institutions, and also the IPCC for burden of proof for their ridiculous claims, and with ‘zero’ surprise, none of them can offer anything resembling a scientific response. This means they are all lying, and when we consider that their lunatic policies have already been directly responsible for energy poverty deaths, this makes the matter criminal.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Take a tranquilliser Jit, preferably the amber coloured nectar variety. I could detect your blood pressure rise, as did mine reading such purple guff from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Do you think the heads of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are on speaking terms with other. If they were doing their jobs they should be daggers drawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Climate was one of the first metases of the cancer that is now consuming our amazing international system.


  4. I think I got almost exactly the same response when I asked my MP if there had been any evaluation of the risks to energy security of incorporating so many windmills and solar panels into the grid. This was just after a week when there was practically zero wind or solar luminescence. The Department has a boilerplate response for all queries. It should have come with a warning: no brains were used when writing this response


  5. New York State is on the same path and many of the statements are so similar I have to wonder if there is press kit of canned responses. My favorite bit of hypocrisy is ” Reduce harmful pollution which contaminates our air and our natural environment to improve our health and wellbeing, as well as that of future generations.” The mining and processing of the rare earth elements necessary for their solution are much worse for the environment but they are out of sight and out of mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Moving away from fossil fuels and towards net zero gives us the unprecedented opportunity to:
    – Create and secure thousands of well-paid, quality jobs across the UK, helping to level up the country. Tackling net zero will create thousands long-term jobs in our reindustrialised heartlands.”

    There has been this type of talk from governments around the world for at least the past 20 years. And unless you are Denmark making wind turbines or China making solar panels it hasn’t worked. Not only hasn’t worked but also cost piles of taxpayers’ money. Here is some interesting history from Ontario, Canada.
    The politicians started to mess with the electricity system as far back as 2002 with the promise of manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels. From the link:

    “For all the costs of going green — estimated by Ontario’s auditor general to total $170 billion over 30 years—none of the alleged economic and social benefits have materialized. The promise of maybe hundreds of thousands of renewable energy jobs was also a fantasy; today, nobody can say where the jobs are, mainly because few new permanent jobs exist. Instead of boosting Ontario’s economy and the health of its citizens, the province has created an incoherent electricity industry that many say threatens the viability of key industries.”

    “Because they know how to turn a light bulb on and off, they’ll issue policy statements on the most complex engineering system on the planet,” said Paul Acchione, a former head of the engineers’ society.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jit, I share your sense of frustration regarding the sanctimonious platitudes emanating from the BEIS.

    You have touched on the main point I was complaining about in Net Zero Democracy – there has been no democratic debate about one of the most important and profound changes our society is starting to go through (with much, much more to come down the line), since the vast majority of Parliamentarians (in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords) are in broad agreement. Apart from a few who can think for themselves, the only difference between most of them is regarding the speed at which we commit economic suicide and render life so much worse for the British people.

    I’m no fan of referendums, as I think (I hope) I made clear, but in this case I make an exception, since the representative system of politics is failing us.

    Of course, the slap-down issued by the BEIS won’t be criticised by any of the other political parties with representatives in Parliament, because they all agree with it. I suspect they’ll be even more worried after this week’s power failures that a proper debate on the subject will see significant public opposition. And therefore it won’t happen. And most of the media will say nothing, because they agree with this line too.


  8. Those poll figures on support for NZ suggest they must have told the participants bugger all about the true implications. When they truly come for the petrol car and the gas boiler, and without anything even vaguely close to like for like replacements and at far higher cost, the figures will plummet to next to zero.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Of course, if you really want to stop this whole net-zero nonsense you have to get people to believe that the government wants to stop the sales of washing machines, tumble driers and dishwashers.

    It would be the sort of thing that, if done right, people would not believe any denial from politicians.


  10. The fact that the Net Zero fantasy, was in the Conservatives’ manifesto, had no bearing on them being elected.
    They were elected as they were the only major party, that said they’d honour our instructions that the UK must leave the EU.


  11. As reported by the Daily Sceptic via The Telegraph:

    “Desire for net zero referendum growing among public, poll finds”

    I don’t generally place much faith in polls, but thought it was worth noting here. The company that commissioned the poll, CAR26, I had never heard of. Which just goes to show that not only do sceptics live siloed away from the mainstream, we are also siloed away from each other.

    The comments by/about Chris Skidmore reinforce my opinion that he was an excellent choice to lead a Net Zero review, as long as you wanted the answer “We need to go faster.”

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You don’t need a referendum on Net Zero. According to the Guardian today “Expert opinion is settled and public opinion united on the urgency of climate action.”
    Public Opinion United? Fortunately there is a link:

    As you would expect the “Biggest global poll supporting global emergency” was rigorous in its methodology. I’m joking. In fact it reads like one of Jit’s April Fool posts.
    “The organisers distributed poll questions through adverts in mobile gaming apps across 50 countries… Across all countries, 64% of participants saw climate change as an emergency, requiring urgent responses. Around 1.22 million people of all genders, ages, and educational backgrounds took part, but with significant numbers of younger people. Some 550,000 people aged 14-18 took part.”

    So 45% of the respondents were aged 14-18. We should be grateful they took time out from playing video games.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. potentilla – thanks for the Guardian link – “Opponents of meaningful action are trying to sidestep the immediacy of the threat to our planet”

    partial quote – “We would simply be proceeding from one bold practical action to the next, following the blueprints laid out by the Climate Change Committee.”

    strange quote at the end –
    “both individual action and systemic change; both extralegal protest actions and legal ones; both glue and writing to your MP. The either/or frame was invented by people who would prefer to do nothing.
    Zoe Williams is a Guardian columnist”

    the whole Guardian post by Zoe is childlike


  14. dfhunter: Childlike indeed. To say that “public opinion is united” on the basis of that ridiculous poll is stupefying. It seems that whatever fits the narrative and agenda of the “climate emergency” can be used however nonsensical. But once people realize the scale of the reduction in their standard of living that would accompany “meaningful action”, public opinion will certainly be united but in the other direction.

    Liked by 1 person

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