Experts call for cost of energy bills to fall after scientists admit overstating global warming
Green taxes on families’ energy bills should be cut in light of a scientific report that said global warming was less drastic than feared, experts claimed yesterday.
Around 10 per cent of a family’s energy bill – roughly £111 a year – is used to subsidise renewable energy, according to official figures.
But critics now say this should be reduced because it is based on outdated information. They point that out the taxes further push up the cost of living as companies and the public sector pass the costs on to consumers.
Nearly all of the world’s governments are signed up to the 2015 Paris Agreement, which pledged to limit global warming to 1.5C higher than pre-industrial levels. Many commentators believed this was practically impossible.
But now a leading group of climate researchers has said that projections used in previous studies were too pessimistic and the 1.5C target was achievable, provided strict cuts to carbon dioxide were made.
The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on climate policy, claimed there was no reason to change its targets for cutting carbon in the light of the new paper.
But critics said that, as these estimates formed the basis of UK energy policy, it was also time to rethink the green taxes on energy intended to address them.
John Constable, [GWPF Energy Editor and] chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, which opposes subsidies to wind farms said: ‘This research has confirmed what a lot of people have known.
‘What is significant is establishment figures are now admitting it. [Policy-makers] should stop panicking and focus on cutting costs to consumers.’ The researchers, in an article in the journal Nature Geoscience, had said the world can emit around 240billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – around 20 years of current emissions – and still meet the 1.5C target.
Michael Grubb, professor of international energy and climate change at University College London, admitted his predictions had been too pessimistic.
‘When the facts change, I change my mind, as [economist John Maynard] Keynes said,’ Dr Grubb told The Times.
‘It’s still likely to be very difficult to achieve these kind of changes quickly enough but we are in a better place than I thought.’
Bjorn Lomborg, author of the Skeptical Environmentalist, said: ‘What we really need to [ask] is how do we spend our money, how much should we spend on cutting CO2, compared to all the other things we should spend on [such as] the NHS. Are we spending too much on achieving too little?’
The Government has ordered a review of energy bills, headed by Oxford academic Professor Dieter Helm, although detailed recommendations of tax cuts do not form part of his brief.