Friday, May 28, 2021

GWPF Newsletter: The Net Zero battle has truly begun


It is suicidal for Tories to bludgeon us into complying with Net Zero pledges

In this newsletter:

1) The Sun says: It is suicidal for Tories to bludgeon us into complying with Net Zero pledges
Editorial, The Sun, 26 May 2021 
2) Steve Baker: The ‘Net Zero’ boiler ban will leave Britain’s poorest out in the cold
The Sun, 26 May 2021

3) EU divided as Poland pushes back over cost of EU’s climate targets

Financial Times, 25 May 2021 

4) Government accused of “Soviet-style production planning” with heat pump roll-out
5) Ross Clark: The gas boiler fiasco and the true cost of Net Zero
The Spectator, 25 May 2021
6) Ben Pile: The crippling cost of Net Zero
Spiked, 26 May 2021
7) One-third of Americans unwilling to spend $1 to fight climate change
The Washington Times, 25 May 2021
8) And finally: Green financiers hire political stars to protect $30 trillion shell game
Bloomberg, 26 May 2021

Full details:

1) The Sun says: It is suicidal for Tories to bludgeon us into complying with Net Zero pledges
Editorial, The Sun, 26 May 2021 
Boiling rage


THE Tories are grossly underestimating the price they will pay if they bludgeon the public into complying with “Net Zero” pledges they made too rashly.
It is suicidal to set arbitrary dates — for banning petrol car sales, gas boilers or for Net Zero itself — without thinking FIRST how to take the public with you.
In nine years battery cars will be the only new ones available. But they currently have derisory mileage ranges and are so overpriced even the Government grant barely makes a dent. That’s before the infamous charging problems.
With those key questions unanswered, No10’s attention flits to gas boilers.
For decades these have heated homes efficiently in a country where winters can be bitterly cold. Now every home will need to be rid of them by 2035.
Grants will be available to install a “heat pump”. But those are also eye- wateringly expensive — and arguably inadequate for many UK properties.

The Government has ruled out fining those refusing to switch. But it looks sure to fleece gas users in other ways, perhaps via punitive stealth taxes. But if we DO all shift to electricity, how will our power plants and windfarms cope?
Brits, including Sun readers, are very environmentally conscious. This country has made huge strides on the issue in the past decade, all ignored by Extinction Rebellion’s shrill saboteurs.
The Sun’s eco campaigns focus on cost-free or money-saving changes we can all make.
But Brits cannot or will not find thousands of pounds to fulfil some random Government promise made to lure green votes or impress others at the COP26 climate conference.
Tory MP Steve Baker warns Downing Street is courting a Poll Tax-style backlash unless it levels with voters about the costs of achieving Net Zero.

Time to come clean, Boris.


2) Steve Baker: The ‘Net Zero’ boiler ban will leave Britain’s poorest out in the cold
The Sun, 26 May 2021

HOMEOWNERS could be forced to pay thousands to replace their gas boilers as ministers move to ban them within 14 years.

The policy will be at the centre of Net Zero plans to be unveiled in the coming months as the UK attempts to go carbon neutral by 2050.
Almost a third of the nation’s carbon emissions come from home heating systems. Yet replacements such as eco-friendly heat pumps typically cost at least £10,000.
Households may be hit with “financial penalties” if they don’t replace their old gas boilers with the expensive green alternatives.
Here Steve Baker, Tory MP for Wycombe and former Brexit minister, warns that by pursuing the policy the Conservatives could be facing a crisis bigger than the 1989 Poll Tax which led to unrest.
THE cost of Net Zero is beginning to bite as the mind-boggling scale of transformation planned by ministers becomes plain.

Steve Baker MP

I couldn’t believe my eyes this week when I read about the Government’s plan to fine people for having gas boilers.
Gas is the cheapest way to heat a home, and its wide­spread use has improved the wellbeing of millions of people in recent decades. As so often, progress has turned a luxury into a necessity many of us take for granted.

But now ministers plan to end the comfortable life­styles we have enjoyed for generations.
Downing Street has backed down on the idea of fines, but it still app­ears the Govern­ment will implement other penalties to force people to change how they heat their homes.

The process is going to hit everyone but let us be under no illusion, the poorest will pay the highest price for these carbon neutral fantasies.
The most likely alternative to a gas boiler is an electric heat pump. They can easily set you back more than £10,000 to install.

If you live in an older property, you might well have to spend many thousands more on fitting enough insulation to make a heat pump viable.
You may even need to change floor levels to make it all work.
And once you have spent all that money, your house may well be colder than before.
Heating is just one aspect of the Government’s plans to reduce our carbon emissions to Net Zero.
This radical pro­gramme is expected to affect almost every aspect of life in the UK. Many of the changes will be wildly expen­sive.
Up until now, the costs have been largely hidden, or at least bearable, but that is not going to be the case for much longer.
The furore over heat pumps makes that clear — the costs of Net Zero are rising quickly.

Take the electricity system, for example. We have been pouring subsidies into unreliable wind farms for nearly 20 years now.
Every UK household is now paying approximately £400 per year to renewables ­com­panies, either through surcharges on bills or through higher prices in the shops.

Some big wind farms will soon be receiving half a billion pounds in subsidy each and every year.
As a result, electricity prices have nearly doubled in the past 20 years.
We can expect those prices to more than double again in coming decades, hitting you and your family hard.
On top of that, the Government wants us all to switch to electric cars, which usually cost £10,000 more than their petrol equivalents but are much less convenient.
For those without off-street parking, personal transport may become a thing of the past.
Experts at KPMG accountants predict that private car ownership could in future fall to less than half the current level.
It won’t be the rich going without the convenience and pleasure of their own trans­port for their own families.
And all this spending won’t mean you can live your life in comfort.
The dirty secret of Net Zero is that there will be no way to generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing.
Ministers like to talk about grid-scale battery storage, but engineers know that idea is nonsense — batteries are good for supplying power to the grid for a few hours, rather than days or weeks.
Mean­while, hydrogen for fuel cells is wildly expensive and it may well prove too dangerous to use in practice.
Without any means of storing electricity, a drop in the wind could be catastrophic.

The dirty secret of Net Zero is that there will be no way to generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing.
If we experience a three-week lull, like the one we saw during April this year, it will mean spending cold winter evenings at home wrapped in a blanket, waiting for the wind to start blowing again.
The days of inexpensive, reliable power on demand will end.
The elite policymakers who govern our lives agree we should reduce our carbon emissions. But they have not been up front about the cost for working families. You, the voter, have not had a choice.
We Conservatives spent years in the wilderness after we lost touch with our voters.
If Boris Johnson forces the public into buying expensive, ineffective heating, if he makes us give up our cars, we will reap what we have sown.
The cost of Net Zero could deliver a political crisis greater than the Poll Tax.
Steve Baker is Tory MP for Wycombe
Greens hitting back: Boris should be worried about Steve Baker, not Dominic Cummings


3) EU divided as Poland pushes back over cost of EU’s climate targets
Financial Times, 25 May 2021

Plans to expand emissions trading scheme exposes divide between richer and poorer member states

Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki, centre left, says plans to extend Europe’s carbon price would impact poorer countries and their citizens the hardest © Olivier Matthys/Pool/Reuters

The EU’s richer and poorer member states have clashed over how to distribute the burden of ambitious emissions targets over the next decade, increasing tensions over the cost of decarbonisation. 

At a summit in Brussels on Tuesday, Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, led the charge against forthcoming plans to extend Europe’s carbon price, arguing that it would impact on poorer countries and their citizens the hardest, diplomats told the Financial Times.

Poland’s position won support among neighbours such as Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltics, while Sweden, Denmark and Germany argued in favour of imposing higher emissions targets on eastern economies to help the union meet its net zero goal by 2050.

Disagreements meant that leaders were forced to drop language on how to share the burden of carbon reductions from a joint summit communiqué. Instead, the conclusions said that the European Council wanted the commission to provide an “in-depth” examination of the environmental, economic and social impact of the measures.

In July, the European Commission will propose including consumer-facing sectors like the car and building industries into the bloc’s emissions trading scheme (ETS) under which companies have to buy credits to cover the cost of polluting.

The plans have sparked a backlash from member states which are concerned about the regressive impact of increasing pump prices and fuel bills for consumers who cannot afford to shoulder the cost of Europe’s record carbon price. 
Full story (£)
4) Government accused of “Soviet-style production planning” with heat pump roll-out
Heating and Pluming News, 25 May 2021

The government has been warned that its plans for the mass roll-out of heat pumps to UK homeowners amounts to Soviet-style production planning that takes no account of market demand.

Under plans being drawn up by BEIS – briefed to the heat pump industry last week by officials – a legal obligation will be placed on boiler manufacturers to make alternative products, such as heat pumps, that compete with gas boilers. If manufacturers fail to sell the required levels of alternative products the company will be penalised.

The proposals, which will form part of the government’s heat and building strategy that is due to be published in June, is being brought in to ensure the government hits its target of 600,000 heat pump installations every year from 2028.
Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the Energy and Utilities Alliance, says the proposals are targeting supply rather than demand: “I’ve already heard this proposal described as Soviet-style production planning that prioritises the supply of a product rather than the generation of demand. If this goes ahead, we are potentially going to get the heat pump equivalent of unwanted Lada cars that consumers don’t want and won’t buy. This is a crude attempt to manipulate the market for domestic heat and it won’t work.
“BEIS is trying to drive consumers towards heat pumps by taking away the alternatives, but it is important that consumers are given a choice about the technologies in their homes.

“The UK’s boiler industry is a manufacturing success story that developed the combi boiler which has already done so much to improve domestic fuel efficiency and reduce household carbon emissions.

“It would be wrong to categorise the industry as deaf and blind to climate change issues. Huge amounts of R&D resource are being poured into the development of hydrogen boilers that can deliver the governments Net Zero targets without crude market manipulation and the denial of consumer choice.”
5) Ross Clark: The gas boiler fiasco and the true cost of Net Zero
The Spectator, 25 May 2021
How long before the target of making Britain net-zero by 2050 has to be dropped, or at least made non legally-binding?


Politically it must have seemed an easy promise for Theresa May to make in the dying days of her premiership: to commit Britain to a legally-binding target of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, rather than the 80 per cent reduction previously stipulated in the Climate Change Act.

It was the summer of 2019 and Extinction Rebellion protests had taken place with surprisingly little counter-protest. David Attenborough’s TV documentary was received warmly by the press, and polls indicated that the public appeared to supported action on climate change – according to a YouGov poll in December 2018 two thirds of the population stated they did not believe the risks of climate change were being exaggerated. Given that May knew she wasn’t going to be around personally to worry about achieving the new target, perhaps she saw it as an easy chance to secure a legacy.
But it is steadily becoming apparent just how politically costly the net zero commitment could be. When environmental issues are expressed in general terms, people tend to fall on the side of taking action; when the consequences for them personally are explained to them, it tends to be a very different matter. A government threat to ban gas boilers in existing homes by 2035, and to fine homeowners if they failed to meet the deadline, seems to have lasted less than a day. It was reported on Tuesday morning that ministers were considering including such a ban in a new heat and buildings strategy to be published next month – but by the afternoon the government appeared to have backtracked, and said there wouldn’t be any fines.

That would be just as well if the government is to have any hope of hanging on to its new heartlands in former red wall seats – and indeed elsewhere. While much of Britain’s housing stock may be old and energy inefficient, an awful lot of it is owned and lived in by voters who don’t necessarily have the means to spend £10,000 on a new heat pump and another £10,000 on insulating their homes (which is the minimum cost of insulating each of Britain’s eight million homes with solid walls). To hit them with such a bill – even with 14 years’ notice – is not going to go down well.

The bill to insulate homes and decarbonise home heating, of course, will come on top of the extra costs people face if they wish to continue to own a car after 2030 when the sale of new diesel and electric cars will be banned. It isn’t just the cars themselves which are more expensive, there is the practical cost of recharging an electric car when you do not have off-street parking next to your home. In both cases – home energy improvements and electric cars – it should not be hard to spot who will face the biggest expense and difficulty: people who live in solid-walled Victorian terraces which open straight onto the street. The trouble is that this demographic covers a vast number of voters – in northern and Midlands towns especially.

The government’s problem is that it is now legally-committed to a zero carbon policy which cannot be met without vast cost – and even then can only be met with technology which has yet to be invented. Even a well-insulated home with an electric heat pump powered by wind farms and solar panels is not really going to be zero-carbon – not when we have no economic means of producing steel, cement or bricks without emitting carbon.

We have been here once before. As Chancellor, Gordon Brown committed the government to making all new British homes carbon neutral by 2016. The definition of carbon-neutral was first tinkered with (to include developers making payments to fund off-site wind farms) and then abandoned by David Cameron. How long before the target of making Britain net-zero by 2050 has to be dropped, or at least made non legally-binding?
6) Ben Pile: The crippling cost of Net Zero
Spiked, 26 May 2021

Green technocrats are utterly indifferent to the lives of ordinary people.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a special report last week, setting out its proposals for achieving ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions. One of its headline demands is that gas-fired domestic boilers should no longer be sold after 2025. This echoes one of the main policies in the UK government’s Net Zero plan. This is no coincidence.
National governments, including the UK, draw all of their climate policies from faceless global agencies like the IEA (as well as domestic quangos like the Climate Change Committee). This process leaves out one important constituency: the public.

A ban on gas boilers will impose serious costs on ordinary people. A backlash is highly likely. You might think the practicalities of the policy would be of interest to journalists and the media. But journalists have taken the IEA’s proposals at face value, and have mainly reported them without scrutiny.
Take the BBC’s Matt McGrath. ‘To keep the world safe, scientists say that global heating has to be limited to 1.5C by the end of this century’, he writes on the BBC News website. ‘The IEA’s new study sets out what it believes to be a realistic road map to achieve that aim.’ There is no scepticism about the proposals, no consideration of their consequences or even any questioning of why we should take orders from technocrats about how to live.

An excited Andrew Evans Pritchard, the Telegraph’s business correspondent, also reproduces the IEA’s claims uncritically. ‘Net Zero does not cost jobs: it replaces five million lost in oil, gas, and coal with eight times as many… It does not raise energy costs: it cuts the average bill for households.’ This is bonkers, to put it mildly. When policies face no challenge from the media, they are much more likely to be taken up by governments. But when they inevitably go wrong, none of their advocates will be held accountable.

It is worth reiterating what a ban on gas boilers means for the British public. Around 23.8million homes are connected to the gas grid, which they depend on for heating and hot water. A further one million homes depend on heating oil. Just 1.7million homes depend on electric heating – mainly flats and some rural properties.
The reason gas is so prevalent is because it is abundant and cheap. This makes it a far more useful source of energy from the consumer’s perspective. Gas costs around a quarter of the price of electricity per kilowatt hour. And so, unsurprisingly, the total energy delivered by the gas grid is around four times that delivered by the electricity grid.

But the public’s need for cheap, reliable energy is not compatible with the Net Zero agenda. As part of the transition, some 25million homes will have to be ‘upgraded’. This will require gas combi boilers – which are small enough to fit in a kitchen cabinet – to be replaced by an air-source heat-pump unit, including a large ‘buffer’ tank. These new units will take up roughly the space of a large cupboard. Due to the lower operating temperature of air-source central-heating systems, radiators will have to be replaced with units that are twice the size as well. Connections to the radiators will also have to be replaced with larger diameter pipework. All of these ‘upgrades’ will leave people with far less space in their homes.
Official estimates of the costs of heat-pump installation vary from between £8,000 and £16,000, depending on the size of the property. And these figures do not include all the extra insulation that is needed to make air-source heat pumps viable (which will likely be required by other Net Zero legislation in any case). New and ratcheting energy-efficiency standards will likely force homeowners to pay for these expensive retrofits before they can legally sell their houses.
Full post
7) One-third of Americans unwilling to spend $1 to fight climate change
The Washington Times, 25 May 2021

President Biden wants to spend in excess of $1 trillion to combat climate change, but more than one-third of Americans are unwilling to chip in a single buck.
A poll of 1,200 registered voters released Tuesday by the Competitive Enterprise Institute found that 35% were unwilling to spend any of their own money to reduce the impact of climate change, with another 15% saying they would only go as high as $10 per month.
Another 6% said they would be willing to spend between $11 and $20 per month. At the other end of the spectrum were those who said they would part with between $901 and $1,000 per month on climate — they numbered 1%.
The results of the survey by CRC Research are consistent with previous polls showing that by and large, Americans are climate tightwads.
The 2019 AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs survey that found 57% were willing to spend an additional $1 per month on climate change, but only 28% would pay $10.

“This poll shows once again that Americans are unwilling to pay for the left’s anti-energy policies,” said CEI Center for Energy and Environment director Myron Ebell in a statement. “The more people learn about the Biden-Harris Blackout Agenda, the less support there will be for spending trillions of taxpayer dollars for no measurable benefits.”

The penny-pinching on global warming came even though 67% of respondents said they were very concerned or somewhat concerned about climate change.

That said, 53% said climate was not a factor in their 2020 election vote, while only 6% said it was the top issue.
Full story

8) And finally: Green financiers hire political stars to protect $30 trillion shell game
Bloomberg, 26 May 2021

Hiring names to open doors comes as green rules are debated, with lobbying in focus and greenwashing risks growing.
Mark Carney to Brookfield Asset Management. Brexit architect Nigel Farage to DGB Group. A senior Obama aide to BlackRock Inc.
One after another, the high-profile hires came in recent months, and in each case, they were handed some iteration of the same mandate: To help their new employers safeguard and grow their burgeoning green-finance businesses.

The sudden rush to embrace political insiders is a powerful sign of just how far responsible investing has come from the eccentric fringes of finance. While business has long been a path into politics and out again, joining a company that plants trees to offset emissions was once a risky career move. Yet so much money -- more than $30 trillion by some counts -- is now tied up in green finance that the industry is successfully wooing an illustrious list of household names and policy wonks to keep lawmakers in London, Brussels and Washington on their side and the good times rolling.
Other recruits include Chuka Umunna, Farage’s one-time arch Brexit (pro)ponent, and Luciana Berger, another former U.K. parliamentarian.
“They’re not hiring these politicians because of their expertise on finance and economics -- they’re hiring them on their expertise on influencing policy, both their connections to people in government and knowledge of how to game the system,” said Simon Youel, head of policy at Positive Money, which campaigns to reform the banking system. “This revolving door is enabling big institutional investors and corporations a disproportionate impact over policy making.”
Full story

The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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