Do you know how much your life is going to change in the next 10 years? (Apart from the half a TRILLION pound cost?)
Well read on and find out
Regardless of your views on climate change, this is worth reading
A fully carbon-neutral UK sounds good, but what will this mean for you personally?
The Government has made many statements about its green agenda over the last few years — particularly since Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds entered №10.
As Covid restrictions on normal life start to come to a (partial) end, new climate change laws are set to alter our lives in as significant a fashion — and at an enormous cost.
The first of the new legislation was lodged in Parliament on Wednesday. Did anyone notice? NO? Good job I did then isn't it.
On Wednesday 21 April 2021, the Government laid legislation before Parliament, committing to the recommendations of its ‘Climate Change Committee’. The Prime Minister said:
“We want to continue to raise the bar on tackling climate change, and that’s why we’re setting the most ambitious target to cut emissions in the world.”
Most people in the United Kingdom are in favour of a cleaner environment. I know I am and I do my bit for the environment unlike me though and my good friend Ian Thorpe who writes on Medium, many have bought into the concept that used to be called ‘global warming and is now referred to as ‘climate change that as part of a cleaner environment it will somehow bring down temperatures
What is perhaps less clear to the majority of the population is how the UK Government’s policies and legislation on this subject will impact their daily lives. Whilst this is a complex subject and is full of variables I present some basics below, based on a review of the law and the activities of the Government’s ‘Climate Change Committee’ — a statutory body set up under the Tony Blair and Gordon Brown’s Climate Change Act 2008.
Whatever readers’ views on climate change, here’s the reality about new policies and laws
I looked at the official ‘Sixth Carbon Budget Report’ published by the Government’s ‘Climate Change Committee’ in December 2020. This is a statutory report under the Climate Change Act. In the words of this Committee: “It is a blueprint for a fully decarbonised UK.”
“Our recommended pathway requires a 78% reduction in UK territorial emissions between 1990 and 2035. In effect, it brings forward the UK’s previous 80% target by nearly 15 years. There is no clearer indication of the increased ambition implied by the Net Zero target than this.”
“Low carbon investment must scale up to £50 billion each year to deliver Net Zero”
The Climate Change Committee, Dec 2020
The figure above is not a misprint. They really do say £50 billion per year — half a TRILLION pounds by 2030.
Who runs this Committee?
This Committee is chaired by someone whom most readers will know as the Rt Hon John Selwyn Gummer — known as one of the ‘wettest’ Government ministers under Margaret Thatcher, and now ennobled as Lord Deben. An indication of his proclivities can be found in the Committee’s report, where he is described as running Sancroft, a corporate responsibility consultancy working on “environmental, social and ethical issues.”
Left: The then Secretary of State for Agriculture, now Lord Deben, feeding his daughter a burger during the ‘mad cow disease crisis, to show beef was safe to eat.
Commenting on Wednesday, Lord Deben said: “I am delighted that the government has accepted my Committee’s recommendations in full.”
I am delighted to find he is alive, to be quite honest I thought he had died years ago. I am less delighted that he sees fit to sit on a committee along with running it that sticks its oar into something that's going to cost us billions.
So which areas of your life will be affected by the Government’s new laws?
The answer to this question is: “almost all of them”. Chapter 3 of the report details what it calls “Sector pathways to Net Zero”. Here are the subjects it singles out for most attention:-
- Surface transport
- Manufacturing and construction
- Electricity generation
- Fuel supply
- Agriculture and land use, land-use change and forestry
- Greenhouse gas removals
In essence, everything from how you get around, to what you eat, to how you can heat and light your home, to whether you can go on a foreign holiday, will all be subject to massive changes.
Controlling what you eat
To give an example, if you’re a meat-eater like the vast majority of the population, your habits will have to change.
It seems that you will have to give up your burgers, chicken, pork, and lamb to the tune of 20% each week and eat beans or vegetables.
If you cancel the traditional British Sunday roast this will get you some of the ways there, but you will also need to think again about having a sneaky kebab or lamb madras during the week.
Jumping into the car to take the family to visit Grandma? Er, could become tricky
Under the new laws, you need to think about walking, cycling, or taking the train and bus. If Grandma lives in Cornwall or Northumberland and you live in the South-East, you had better count on a military-style logistics planning exercise.
17% of car journeys are planned to be reduced by 2050. Almost 10% of these will be reduced in just 14 years’ time. And if you have a trusty, reliable old motor that might keep going forever, then 2050 is your limit. By 2032 (just 11 years’ time) it seems we will all be buying an electric vehicle.
As the Committee says: “Sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans are phased out by 2032 at the latest.”
They go on to assume “High levels of social change leading to a 34% reduction in car demand by 2050.” Perhaps they are assuming lockdowns are here to stay and we will still not be able to leave our homes.
Want to stay warm at home? Put on an extra jumper
When it comes to heating your home or having hot water, you will not be able to replace your gas boiler after 2033–12 years’ time. If your system uses oil, coal or wood, then your window is even shorter: 2028, or seven years’ time.
Oh, and if you want to sell your home, then by 2028 “No dwellings can be sold unless they meet the minimum standard.”
What is all this going to cost?
In the Committee’s report of 448 pages, I did not find a definitive annual amount for the total gross cost of this programme. It’s possible it was there and I missed it, but I don’t think so. Instead, there were many pages on possible benefits.
What I can say is that the Committee put the costs for the next 10 years alone at half a trillion pounds.
Covid restrictions phased out, new climate change restrictions phased in
In June, just as the Covid-19 restrictions are set to end, the Government is going to introduce the new climate change laws, some of which will have an equally significant effect on our way of life.
The number of assumptions and forecasts in this report are breathtaking. Most pages include assumptions that make Neil Ferguson’s Imperial College modelling of wholly exaggerated Covid-19 deaths look modest to the point of gross understatement.
The report makes an enormous number of assumptions and forecasts, which if they prove to be true would mitigate some of the costs of this transformative exercise in our society.
If, however, just some of these predictions prove to be optimistic, then the already enormous costs in this report could be momentous on top of the cost of Covid measures.
The never-ending trend towards the totalitarian United Kingdom
At the risk of sounding alarmist, I see this latest report as being another in a long line of developments that are deeply troubling for those who wish to see a return to a relatively free, democratic, and independent United Kingdom.
This report from the Climate Change Committee is not simply a report from a think-tank. It is an official and statutory report from a Government body set up under a law in 2008, and the Government has accepted its recommendations in full. I wonder how many readers even knew of the existence of this body. The report lays out a path to change the lives of ordinary people in ways that cross so many areas of life.
If the British people are informed fully, including the massive costs which they will be forced to incur and which they will also be passing on to their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, so be it. As things stand, I do not believe this to be the case.
This report talks of ‘locking in our Covid behaviours’ — WHAT?!
Possibly one of the most troubling sentences in a lengthy report which is full of them is the following:-
“The opportunities presented to lock-in positive behaviours seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and societal and technological changes to reduce demand (e.g. shared mobility and focus on broadband rather than road-building) are key enablers.”
The opportunity to lock in behaviours? If this isn’t social engineering and manipulation reeking of a totalitarian state, what is? Whatever happened to the pioneering, independent, sometimes disruptive, and freedom-loving spirit of the British people?
I believe it’s still there, but I also believe people are unaware of radical changes to their lives that are coming. I leave it to readers to decide if they are happy with their new future.
Sources: The Climate Change Committee | Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street | Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy