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Government abandons official Net Zero cost estimate

Press Release

Parliament was misled by Climate Change Committee

London, 2 March – The Public Accounts Committee’s report on Achieving Net Zero, published today, shows that plans to decarbonise the economy are in disarray.

The parliamentary committee noted that there appears to be no coherent plan for delivery, and points out that the Government has finally admitted it has no idea of the cost involved.

According to the committee report,

HM Treasury was reluctant to be drawn on the future costs of achieving net zero, cautioning that while the Climate Change Committee has provided estimates, they contain ‘heroic assumptions’ with errors potentially compounding over very long periods.”

The Net Zero policy was put into law on the basis of an official cost estimate provided to Parliament by the Committee on Climate Change, whose chairman, Lord Deben said it was “recognised universally as the most seriously presented, costed effort”.

However, it has become clear over the last two years that it was largely a fiction [1–3], with at least one independent estimate suggesting that the Climate Change Committee understated the cost of Net Zero by an order of magnitude [4].

Net Zero Watch director Benny Peiser said:

The report shows that the Government has written off the Climate Change Committee’s cost estimates. This completely vindicates what we have been saying since 2019. Parliament was tricked into Net Zero by misleading claims. The Government has now thrown the CCC and Lord Deben under the bus, and it’s not before time.”

Welcoming Net Zero Watch’s statement, Craig Mackinlay MP called for a complete overhaul of climate and energy policy:

For 20 years, policy has been dominated by ideological pipe dreamers, and to date they have succeeded in wrecking livelihoods and undermining national security. It’s time to look again at fracking, at nuclear, and at adaptation. It’s time to get serious about climate and energy.”


[1]  Andrew Montford: Three Trillion and Counting, The Global Warming Policy Foundation

[2] Parliament ‘misled’ over cost of net zero target, say Conservative MPs. Telegraph, 25 September 2021

[3] Net Zero target relies on rise in windy days. Telegraph, 23 October, 2021

[4] McKinsey. The economic transformation: What would change in the net-zero transition