Net Zero Watch today welcomed the Prime Minister’s pragmatic willingness to reconsider both the character and pace of the UK’s emissions reduction policies. This is wise, and recent YouGov opinion polls show that the electorate approves.
For well over a year there has been growing public dissatisfaction with the UK’s misconceived emissions reduction policies and overly ambitious Net Zero targets. The reasons for this have been the subject of Net Zero Watch comment and analysis for some time, and are now regularly covered in the media:
* British electricity is expensive due to an obsession with wind and solar, which remain extremely costly in spite of twenty years of heavy subsidy, now amounting to about £8 billion a year.
* Moreover, the invasion of Ukraine has exposed renewables as giving only pseudo-security of supply. British weather is no substitute for fuels of high thermodynamic quality such as oil and gas.
* The push to ban new petrol and diesel cars is also premature, and the replacement with EVs ill-thought through. EVs may have a limited role in the short term for some users in urban and suburban areas, but they are simply neither ready nor affordable for the majority of drivers.
* Green home-heating has become a laughing-stock, with the dogmatic one-size fits all approach of mandatory heat pumps a manifest failure, with even those in the industry itself admitting that they just aren’t suitable for all houses in all locations.
* And the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, which replaced the EU ETS, has begun to put unbearable burdens on British businesses, with the OBR predicting that the cost would rise by 500% this year to £6 billion annually.
In the wake of the Uxbridge by-election, which registered a strong vote against the Labour Mayor’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ), the Prime Minister has begun to reform these failing policies. Critically, new licences have been issued for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, while the costs of the UK ETS are being reduced through the release of more free permits.
These first steps have been welcomed by the public, with recent YouGov polling showing that voters are actually changing their minds and becoming more realistic as they engage with the details and the costs of NetZero.
Net Zero Watch urges the Prime Minister to take courage from the evident shift in public opinion and ignore the lobbyists for vested interests, some in his own party, who are clearly out of touch with the realities of Net Zero and with public opinion.
The Prime Minister should now drop the attempt to force heat pumps on British households, relax the ban on new diesel and petrol cars, and grasp the nettle and admit that the attempt to subsidise wind and solar into cheapness is a failure and must simply stop. A gas to nuclear pathway is the only viable means to reduce emissions and maintain national prosperity.
Dr John Constable, NZW’s Energy Director, said:
Admitting the impracticality of many green policies is common-sense, good for the UK and good politics too. Ultimately, it will also be good for the planet, as a rational and balanced approach to emissions reduction based on gas and nuclear replaces the ideologically driven obsession with physically inferior renewables. As the incoming head of the IPCC, Professor Jim Skea, said this week, generating a false sense of urgency through talk of ‘climate catastrophe’ helps no one. There is time to think this through carefully and get it right.”