Boris Johnson has only one chance to ensure rapid and sustained economic recovery from the lockdown – and that is to scrap every obstacle that stands in the way of economic growth, the biggest of all being the net zero climate noose.
When economies emerge from the pandemic, aggressive climate policies should be the priority, according to Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary and Boris Johnson’s deputy. Sounding like a modern day King Canute, he has urged governments to turn the tide on climate change. “There’s no choice between cutting our emissions and growing our economy,” Mr. Raab claims. “That’s a myth the UK has helped to shatter over the past decade.”
In fact, the last decade saw Britain rack up its worst productivity performance since the Industrial Revolution. Ministers don’t tell us how we cut them by exporting our industrial base – emissions relating to imports from China are 276pc higher compared to 1997. The Government can forget about re-shoring vulnerable supply chains as it would push up our emissions.
France’s Emmanuel Macron, by contrast, is a good deal more honest, having described the choice on climate as profound and brutal. Decarbonising inflicts costs on the poorest in society and it shrinks blue-collar job opportunities, worsening the North South regional divide.
Britain legislated its commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero after a mere ninety-minute debate in the House of Commons last June. Unlike the original 2008 Climate Change Act, the Government did not provide an economic impact assessment of net net and its analysis of the costs, of what it would to do the economy and an estimate of the potential climate benefits to Britain. […]
The Prime Minister has only one chance to ensure rapid and sustained economic recovery from the lockdown – and that is to scrap every obstacle that stands in the way of economic growth, the biggest of all being the net zero climate noose. If he fails, he and his government will be toast, his political career be ruined and the Conservatives will be remembered for this policy-made economic disaster. Keeping Boris’s commitment to net zero won’t be pretty.
Rupert Darwall is a Senior Fellow of the RealClear Foundation and author of The Climate Noose published by the GWPF