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Counting the cost of ‘net zero carbon’

20 August 2022

Solar panels covering up farmland, South Wales. Photo Richard Whitcombe/

The stultifying Conservative Party process for selecting a new leader – and by default Britain’s next prime minister – has seen much hot air expended on the cost of living crisis, precipitated in large part by rocketing energy prices.

“Handouts for the neediest” from one camp is countered with illusory tax cuts from the other. “Freeze the energy price cap,” intones Keir Starmer, as if determined to underline the pointlessness of the Labour Party, bereft of ideas.

What is not discussed, indeed what is not permitted to be discussed, is the damage daily caused by adherence to the universal mantra of net zero carbon by 2050.


The zealots who promote this impractical and ruinously expensive claptrap indulge in the most abject virtue signalling, even though a carbon-neutral Britain so soon would make precious little difference in the world. They argue that they are advocates for the planet and that people must change. Produce less, travel less, eat less meat, have fewer children and so on. 

They falsely counterpose people against the planet. But the point is, the people are part of our planet. We need to make responsible decisions about using its resources, planning for the long term – impossible with capitalism.

Whoever wins the dismal Conservative beauty contest will, of course, be obliged to address how energy prices are a growing nightmare for British people. But their devotion to the net zero target renders them powerless. A combination of “green” levies, the heavy subsidising of intermittent fuel sources, a reliance on the “market” and a failure to plan ahead has massively impacted on energy bills. 


At the beginning of August, Norway, a major supplier of power to Britain, announced it was planning to ration electricity exports, due to low water levels in its hydro-electric reservoirs. That could mean taking a huge chunk off the imported energy that Britain relies on to cope with periods of peak demand.

Our next prime minister will need to understand, or be made to understand, that energy independence is the only way forward. We are taking faltering steps to upgrade our nuclear estate, but that will take decades to come to fruition. Meanwhile, we have oil, we have gas, we have coal. The 2050 net zero taboo has to be lifted.