Skip to content

Conservatives will regret Boris Johnson’s radical Net Zero targets

Press release, Global Warming Policy Forum

The Prime Minister’s radical decarbonisation plans will burden Britons with astronomical costs which will trigger rising public discontent.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has today announced that as part of the drive to Net Zero the United Kingdom will aim to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 68% as compared to the 1990 baseline, a substantial increase over and above the previous 57% target.

The official 1990 baseline for the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions is 794.4 MtCO2e (million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent). Increasing the official 2030 target from a 57% to a 68% reduction implies a total reduction of 540 MtCO2e per year.

The cost of emissions reductions through current policies, such as wind power, is approximately £100-£150/tCO2e, and, in spite of industry propaganda, figures of more than £200/tCO2e are plausible for the future. Hence, the new target translates to a cost of between £50 billion and £100 billion per year.

The “Express Service” required to deliver the Prime Minister’s target can only increase this cost still further.

Even at the lower end of these estimates, spending at this level will place a significant burden on households already faced with the long-run impact of the measures taken to address coronavirus.

British businesses will see their competitiveness post-Brexit eroded when they most need to be rebuilding their position in the international markets.

Dr Benny Peiser, the GWPF director, said

Boris Johnson is indulging in radical gesture politics in the run up to COP26, and attempts to send friendly messages to Mr Biden. But these gestures come at astronomical costs and burdens which are unsustainable.

As the unaffordability and infeasibility of these extreme plans becomes apparent, public discontent will only grow while the irresponsibility of this Conservative government is unlikely to be forgotten by voters.”