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Amid the ballyhoo from scaremongers, sciencevangelists, mathematical model merchants and research grant phishing experts about the need to achieve Net Zero if we are to 'save the planet,' there is little concrete evidence that the climate chaos we are seeing is solely the result of a slight increase in levels of Carbon Doioxide (CO) in the atmospehere (240 parts per million to 405 parts per million,) since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Despite this being a very marginal change a constant barrage of propaganda and the 'cancelling' of any scientist or medua commentator who challenged this 'existential threat from human made climate change narrative has made it almost impossible to have a civilised debate on the topic or to present a dissenting case. It has also rendered impossible a logical analysis of the wider impact on economic and social activities.
For all the magical thinking and grandiose pledges about green jobs and technologies, the true benefits of reducing CO2 emissions from human activity appear trivial when compared with the massive scale of costs incurred in replacing electricity distribution grids in developed nations and increasing generating capacity while simultaneously shutting down all industrial activities involving oil, natural gas and coal. The huge destruction of our existing capital stock, from cars to industrial machinery would impose so great a cost as to make 'net zero' unchhievable without destroying industrial civilisation totally.
A good example of the follies spawned by the 'net zero'v policy is the UK government's plan to force households to replace their efficient and relatively cheap to run gas fired heating systems with expensive, inefficient and unreliable heat pumps. Now heat pumps are not a new technology, they have been around for roughly a hundred years, think of a fridge, freezer or air conditioning system in reverse.
OK, now think of a three-bedroom house currently heated by gas. Official figures suggest that installing an air source heat pump, upgrading radiators and improving insulation could cost £15,000 or more. Even after spending that money, many will find the system inadequate and require a gas or mains electricity system as backup.
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. That heat pump will require green electricity if it’s to help meet net zero. So we must also allow for building and operating the wind farms, backup storage and grid network needed to replace gas heating with electricity. All those costs must be recovered through higher electricity prices, or direct government subsidies. Even if energy costs revert to “normal” pre-2021 levels, my calculations suggest that electricity prices could well double.
Along with the higher demand, and allowing for a reduction in gas use, this could be equivalent to a net increase in bills of £1,000-£1,200 per year for our hypothetical 3-bedroom house. Moreover, we must allow for the higher costs of servicing and eventually replacing heat pumps.
And the heat pump policy is only the start of our Net Zero capital losses. Schools, hospitals, offices, shops and factories will have to be extensively refurbished or replaced to accommodate electric heating, and will then incur higher operating costs. A significant fraction of buildings and other assets could be abandoned as no longer economic because many older houses, apartment blocks and commercial buildings are totally unsuitabe for installation of heat pump technology. That could have the knock on effect of driving up both residential and commercial rents paid by housing tenants and businesses.
Then, there is transport and the hasty replacement of petrol or diesel vehicles by electric vehicles to consider, not that people would be able to travel far when all the roads are being dug up to facilitate the installation of higher capacity electricity cables. Less obviously we must allow for the reorganisation of urban and suburban areas in the name of Net Zero and “15-minute neighbourhoods”. Our whole social infrastructure – shopping, schools, community facilities – has been built over many decades on the assumption of cheap private and public transport. A large part of this may have to be replaced, at as yet unknown, but certainly prohibitive cost.
Detailed calculations by the Cambridge engineer Professor Michael Kelly suggest
that the investment required for the current Net Zero timetable will
exceed £3 trillion, or 1.2 times UK GDP. Either other investment must
decline or the burden will fall on household spending. You will not find Prof Kelly's research reported anywhere in mainstream media of course.
In summary, in pursuit of Net Zero by 2050, around a quarter of all UK investment will be devoted to replacing existing assets. The knock-on effect means that what’s left of the UK’s original asset base could well get older and more expensive to operate. Prospects for future improvements in productivity or healthcare or education are at risk of shrivelling in the face of endless demands to fund the energy transition.
So far we have only looked at the green dreams of research grant phishing scientists and environmentalist crusties. Let's now turn our attention to more prosaic matters.
Those in power, those in technocratic positions, think
tanks and advisory panels are as knowledgeable on climate science,
electrical power systems, or large scale industrial engineering and
economics as a people of an amazonian rain forest trible would be on developing computer systems. The sooner there is a great purge of eco zealots and Cultural Marxists from government and senior positions in businesses and media the
The most disappointing thing about this allegely Conservative government is the way they have abandoned all conservative priniciples which are all about spending wisely and conserving things which work and are effective rather that throwing money at that which is novel, fashionable and unproven. Instead they have jumped on the globalist bandwagon and embraced a system most appropriately named by george Orwell in his novel '1984', Oligarchic Collectivism. Gas boilers ,air travel , old houses and petrol cars have to go because they are old. Never mind that they work, and never mind the evidence stacking up that the proposed alternatives don't. Despite the cost and oddly the ultimate lack of benefit to the climate or indeed our homes we must move with the times, change is saxred, science is God..
At the risk of stating the absolutely effing obvious stating the bleeding obvious Net zero is all cost and near zero benefit .RELATED: