In Cloud Cuckoo Land I pointed out that the Labour Party leadership are not the only politicians living in Cloud Cuckoo Land – Conservative Government ministers also occupy that mysterious place. In The True Cost Of Net Zero I alluded to the then pending “net zero review” that was promised by new Prime Minister, Liz Truss. The Government has just issued a press release confirming that the review is now to get underway.
The headline tells us that:
The review will focus on the UK’s fight against climate change maximising economic growth – while ensuring energy security and affordability for consumers and businesses.
I probably need write no more, since in that single sentence we have all the evidence we need that the Government lives in Cloud Cuckoo Land.
First, the UK cannot “fight against climate change”. Insofar as humanity can do anything about climate change (which is doubtful) it is certainly the case that a country with just 1% of global greenhouse gas emissions could – in theory, it probably can’t be done in practice – reduce those emissions to zero, but it wouldn’t make a jot of difference to climate change, especially while China, India, Russia and pretty much all of the developing world are committed to increasing their emissions (as they are).
Second, it should be abundantly obvious by now that all our efforts in this regard, far from “maximising economic growth,” have simply exported jobs and emissions to countries who are less picky about the level of their greenhouse gases.
Third, perhaps those in charge haven’t been paying attention, but the massive efforts and costs devoted to this agenda to date have left us with series crises, both in terms of “energy security” and a lack of “affordability for consumers and businesses.”
In other words, the entire premise of the review is hopelessly deluded.
It gets worse. One might have hoped that a “net zero review” would have looked at the whole policy of net zero, with a view, inter alia, to asking whether the policy was working or whether instead it was causing more harm than good. The reality of the “review”, however, is that net zero is sacrosanct, and isn’t to be questioned. Instead, the “review of net zero delivery by 2050 aims to ensure delivery of legally-binding climate goals are pro-growth and pro-business”. Furthermore, it is claimed that the review is to be “independent”, yet it is to be chaired by a prominent net zero advocate (one might even say fanatic), former Energy Minister, Chris Skidmore MP. One thing I think we can be sure of is that there will be absolutely no danger, under his Chairmanship, of anyone going off piste and questioning the basic premise of net zero.
Indeed, he was widely quoted in the course of the press release, and among other things, said this:
This review seeks to ‘double down’ on how we can ensure that our energy transition happens…
So that’s that then.
Following on through to the next page of the Government website we learn that “The government is committed to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” So there is definitely no change there.
At this stage, we are then offered a link to the review’s terms of reference, but unfortunately it appears that they are a state secret, for the link doesn’t take the reader to them, and there seems to be no way of finding one’s way there. I do hope the eleven short paragraphs, which seem to add precious little to the press release, don’t constitute the terms of reference. But perhaps that’s all there is. Cloud Cuckoo Land.