London, 7 August – The Information Tribunal has ordered the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to publish the calculations behind its claim that the UK economy can be decarbonised at modest cost.
The CCC’s figures were presented to Parliament ahead of the Net Zero emissions target nodded through in June 2019 to enshrine it in law. The case was brought by Andrew Montford, the deputy director of the Global Warming Policy Forum.
The ruling, which dismisses almost all of the CCC’s arguments, comes after a two-year battle to obtain the cost calculations. Extraordinarily, the CCC’s case centred around a claim that it had erased and overwritten the relevant information by the time of the FOI request, just six weeks after the publication of the Net Zero report, and indeed changed and lost it further subsequent to the request. According to Mr Montford:
By arguing that it has overwritten and erased the spreadsheet data, the CCC has essentially admitted that its internal processes are a shambles. This is not a competent organisation and Parliament needs to investigate as a matter of urgency. If they can’t even manage simple matters of data retention, what hope is there that they can prepare a plausible costing of a multi-trillion pound project such as the decarbonisation of the UK economy?”
During the case, the CCC revealed that their costing does not include any estimate for spending in 2020-2049, but only considered the residual amounts in 2050, after the bulk of the transition. This was not made clear to the MPs when they agreed to bring the Net Zero target into law, and it is likely therefore that MPs were misled.
*The CCC has 35 days to publish the closest versions of the spreadsheets to those that existed at the time of the request.
*Mr Montford was advised by information law specialists John Goss and Aaron Moss of 5 Essex Court chambers.