If the announcement of a Net Zero review during Liz Truss’s brief tenure in Number 10 raised sceptics’ hopes, they were rather rapidly dashed when the review’s Chair was named: Chris Skidmore.

Skidmore could never be described as a disinterested party (see Mark’s piece from September for some choice cuts). Any potential drawbacks to the UK’s Net Zero suicide mission were never going to see the light of day. To summarise my expectations of the Skidmore Review’s conclusions, they would be:

  • Net Zero is necessary;
  • Net Zero will bring enormous benefits to the UK;
  • Net Zero will have trivial costs;
  • The faster we go, the sooner we will reap the benefits of Net Zero;
  • No-one worth listening to opposes the UK’s goal of Net Zero;
  • It is vital for our international standing that we lead on Net Zero…
  • Etc, etc.

I expected any negatives of our “transition” to be invisible to the Review, and any positives to be fairy stories. Well, the Review has duly been delivered, so what has it concluded?

I have to admit that my heart did sink a bit when I downloaded the pdf. I wanted to read the Review before commenting on it – but at 340 pages, that has proven impossible. In truth, I’ve only skimmed it. How many people will actually read it all? Unclear. The Executive Summary is longer than some reports one has occasion to read.

The length was one thing slowing me down. But I’m afraid I found myself staring just at the contents page for about half an hour, occasionally pinching myself to check whether or not I was dreaming. The term “Orwellian” is overused, as is Orwellian language (including in what follows here). But, Dear Reader, I present to you the contents listing for Part 1 of the Review:

Net Zero is the growth opportunity of the 21st century?

One might as well say that a boot stamping on a human face forever is the growth opportunity of the 21st century. There are opportunities in Net Zero, but not for all of us. The opportunities are for those who would sell us goods that are inferior to our existing goods, but which carry the green imprimatur. Such opportunities only exist where there are subsidies or regulations that mean the existing product cannot win. Either option means that ordinary citizens are disadvantaged.

Net Zero in the UK, one might say, is an excellent opportunity for a country like – oh, I don’t know, let’s pick one at random – China, which knows that we won’t be able to manufacture our own Net Zero stuff because our energy costs are too high because we are obsessed by Net Zero. We can’t mine things, and we can’t refine things, and we can’t manufacture things.

Everything in the Review is backwards. EVs are cheaper to run than ICE cars: so we need to ban ICE cars. How curious! If EVs are cheaper than ICE cars, it is because of their several tax advantages. But even then they can’t win unless we ban the opposition, because the opposition is a better product.

If we ensure gas is more expensive than electricity, people will install heat pumps. Or burn more wood.

In the short-term, government should ensure there is a clear price signal in favour of technologies that use electricity rather than fossil fuels.

Why would we do that? The “green” option is already cheaper, except it isn’t, is it? Figures like this…

… pretend that they are, but if that was true, why would you need to so firmly tilt the playing field in favour of these already superior and cheaper options? Note the impartial source from which the Review is taking this figure?

The downsides are dressed up as benefits, as here where rationing is rebranded as an opportunity for punters to save money:

Will Skidmore be thinking about whether or not to boil his kettle at 5pm? I somehow doubt that. The Review is full of obvious lies. An example:

Calling these “lies” might be extreme, but how else can they be characterised? Of course these are arbitrary targets. Everyone knows that. The Earth does not know what a degree is, or half a degree. Nor does it know what year it is. In any case, if the targets were not arbitrary, the year would not end in a zero, and the temperature limit would not be such a nice clean number (it was formerly 2 degrees, you will recall). Another paragraph with only a passing acquaintance with the truth:

According to section 1.4.3 the UK has a competitive advantage. Really? What are we going to be exporting to other countries?

Improving operational energy and reducing embodied carbon in corporate buildings can also become a competitive advantage for the UK

Dude, what are you smoking? We can outcompete the Chinese by “reducing embodied carbon in corporate buildings”? The only other thing I saw a hint of us exporting was “green finance.” Actually, more than a hint. The document is full of rubbish about how the UK is a leader in green finance. A joke. Green finance is a mirage based on the assumption that people, companies and countries will act against their own best interests over long periods of time. Take Britishvolt for an example. Investment in this is based on the idea that the UK government is going to trap UK companies into only building EVs, and forcing its people into only buying EVs. That means that a battery factory, no matter how expensive to build and how expensive its products, will still be ultimately profitable.

Unless we buy our batteries from China?

This would be tragic if it wasn’t so bloody obvious. Does anyone in the UK seriously picture a future in which Britishvolt might be, I dunno, let’s just all have a laugh, a future in which Britishvolt is exporting batteries to Chinese car manufacturers?

In our green future, we will be lucky if we can supply ourselves with anything, let alone export anything. Meanwhile, we’ll figure out how to keep the plebs from putting heads on sticks:

No doubt we will be “nudged” into a sort of green twilight of mute acceptance. By careful early conditioning, by games and cold water, by the rubbish that will be dinned into them at school, the young will be our strongest supporters. The game of this cult is to make Net Zero a fait accompli, to turn itself into a Borg collective against which resistance is futile. Ultimately the Net Zero fantasy will collide with bitter reality. But it should be resisted now. We can’t just wait for reality to catch up with Net Zero, because the longer we wait, the harder the fall will be.

As to how to resist, I have no clue. The picture this Review gives is of an elite that are, exemplified by its Chair, zombies insulated from reality by green winding cloths. We know that the hysteria is growing in the young. We know that as the Net Zero damage piles up, it will be blamed on “volatile fossil fuel prices,” the war in Ukraine, or our own selfishness. If the incumbent government get voted out, their replacements are likely to be of deeper green hue. A small hope is the growing number of public voices who are beginning to speak up against the madness, even if they do not get the coverage they deserve.

The least we can do is put on record our opposition to Net Zero, and our rejection of the lie that it and its fruits represent anything “green”, and that this is one race we do not want to win:

The Review can be found here. Its title is, appropriately enough, “Mission Zero.”

14 Comments

  1. “Independent report
    Review of Net Zero”

    Ah, this is clearly a new definition of “independent with which I am unfamiliar.

    The shill Skidmark is as independent as a new-born baby.

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  2. I think the climate/net zero battle war comes down to Malthusianism vs Cornucopianism. Politicians need to adopt a strategy of going for the moral and intellectual high ground of advocating for a high energy civilization. They need to counter highfalutin net zero rhetoric with real concepts like energy density and grid stability. The importance of nuclear, fracked gas and diesel fuel need to be emphasized.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It is my belief that the net zero madness is the greatest threat facing my country. A running theme of mine is my distress at the uniformly favourable view of net zero by all the main UK political parties, especially those which laughingly purport to be of the left. I will vote at the next general election for any politician opposing this madness, sadly even if I disagree with their other policies, given the massive nature of the threat that our brainwashed zombie politicians represent to us, the British public.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Mike, I am sure that we (sceptics) have the facts on our side, but my limited understanding of psychology tells me that we can’t win the argument without building a bridge to the opposition. The way we are, there is a giant chasm between us, over which we throw missiles at our opponents and they throw missiles back. As an embattled minority, perhaps we will eventually give up the fight, and lose by default.

    Mark, I am with you entirely that Net Zero is a greater risk to the wealth, freedom, wellbeing and nature of our country than climate change. There remains the small chance that it is us who have taken leave of our senses, not the alarmists. But I don’t think so. I really don’t.

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  5. Given that the North Atlantic Oscillation has already changed to its negative phase and Solar Cycle 25 has also commenced, meaning that the lower solar winds will result in greater numbers of cosmic ray particles impinging on the atmosphere, (see Svensmark) encouraging cloud nucleation and thus increasing the Earth’s albedo, I expect it to become evident to even the most rabid Warmist that the Earth is now cooling.
    So I expect that the “climate scientists” will require to segue back to the old Ice Age scare stories, and that in ten years it will be difficult to find a “climate scientist” who ever believed in CAGW.

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  6. “Put all of National Grid under state control, net zero campaigners urge
    Investors paid almost £9bn in dividends and share buyback schemes over last five years, report has revealed”

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/jan/15/put-all-of-national-grid-under-state-control-net-zero-campaigners-urge

    National Grid, which maintains the backbone of Britain’s electricity network, should be taken under government control to ensure the rapid transition to net zero, campaigners said, after a report revealed that the business paid investors almost £9bn in dividends and share buyback schemes over the last five years…

    …Renewables businesses have complained that the DNOs and National Grid resist extending the network to bring low-carbon generation on stream to protect their profit margins.

    Molly Scott Cato, the Green party’s finance and economy spokesperson, said: “To achieve our climate targets, it is vital that we shift to powering our lives through electricity, and the National Grid plays a vital role in this endeavour.”

    She said that by the end of last year, almost 700 renewable energy projects were on hold, waiting for the National Grid to find them capacity. “When it comes to ensuring a rapid transition to renewables, ownership really matters. We need National Grid to be able to focus solely on ensuring we have a sustainable future, not being distracted by keeping shareholders sweet.”…

    Delusional. No understanding of practical issues. No mention of the £54Bn upgrade to accommodate renewables (that’s approx £2,000 per household). At least we’ve been told they’re spending £54Bn. This report says this:

    National Grid, which has half its business in the US, said it was planning to spend almost £30bn upgrading the UK’s transmission systems over the next four years, making it the largest single investment in low-carbon technologies in Britain.

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  7. Catweazle, I would be surprised if there was a reverse in global temps to be honest. A large part of the increase in insolation lately has to do with the reduction in aerosols I think, which is unlikely to reverse (as a certain J. Curry quipped, “Maybe the answer to global warming is more dirty Chinese coal plants.” (I paraphrase.)

    Mark, yes, delusional in thinking that renewables are the answer to anything, even if we quadruple or octuple them. And that’s without mentioning the downsides for aerial wildlife. What ever happened to the old-fashioned idea of generating electricity close to where it is needed?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As I pointed out above the ~60 year North Atlantic Oscillation has recently changed to its negative phase which will certainly lead to a reduction in the warming tendency (if any), Solar Cycle 25 has commenced and there is already a noticeable reduction leading to an increase in cosmic ray particles impinging on the atmosphere which according to Svensmark will lead to an increase in cloud cover hence albedo due to increased nucleation, both of there will tend to reduce the temperature.

    It is my opinion that there are already signs that the Earth has entered a cooling phase, not just from my observations of the data but also due to a recent tendency towards ass-covering by increasing numbers of “climate scientists”, there have already been admissions that the models have been running hot and are not as trustworthy as hoped, and now this, which admits that the science isn’t as settled as was previously claimed:
    https://phys.org/news/2023-01-uncertainties-climate-science.html

    Time will tell!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Climate models are the crystal ball of climate science, ‘science’ not séance, so they’re okay are’nt they?

    Well not so okay, there’s that failure of the model projections to match observations. And that’s a major fail.

    See Global Mid-Troposphere Temperature Change Prediction 1979 -2025 average of 102 Climate Models vs satellite and balloon observations. Models wa-a-ay too hot.

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  10. When they say “reducing embodied carbon in corporate buildings,” employees are the embodied carbon they want to reduce. There will be no employees because no one will have jobs because the economy has been deliberately cratered and there’s nothing to do but sit in your pod or walk to the 15-minute-city limit of your digital leash to pick up your weekly ration of crickets.

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  11. catweazle: ……the science isn’t as settled as was previously claimed:
    https://phys.org/news/2023-01-uncertainties-climate-science.html
    This link only addresses the limitations of climate models to estimate global average temperatures. It does not deal with extreme event attribution or modelling climate breakdown. In that regard the science is definitely not settled. As Judith Curry noted:” Climate models are not fit-for-purpose to simulate extreme weather events, let alone to attribute them to human caused warming.” Yet global average warming is not the key issue. We are told that climate catastrophe is what we are heading towards.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. “Do we truly know the cost of net zero?”

    https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/do-we-truly-know-the-cost-of-net-zero/

    Just why is Chris Skidmore’s review into the government’s target to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 called an ‘independent’ review? It somewhat stretches the definition of the word ‘independent’.

    Skidmore was the very minister – the Energy and Clean Growth Minister – who pushed the net zero commitment through the House of Commons in the first place in 2019. He remains a Conservative MP. Putting him in charge of an ‘independent’ review on net zero is analogous to Rishi Sunak putting Boris Johnson in charge of a ‘independent’ review into Brexit. That, of course, would be laughed out of the House of Commons. But things seem to work very differently in the world of net zero. …

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