Chris Skidmore’s Rubber Stamp Of Net Zero

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By Paul Homewood

Surprise, surprise!! The government’s “Independent Report” has rubber stamped its Net Zero agenda!!

Given that it was written by Chris Skidmore, this should come as no surprise! It was Skidmore, you may recall, who signed into law the Net Zero Act in 2019.

As one of the bunch of extreme green Tories, it was inevitable that he would rubber stamp Net Zero. It was always a stitch up job, to placate Tory MPs who were critical of the Act, while at the same time being a sop to greens while Truss was pushing for fracking.

A truly independent review would have critically assessed all of the assumptions, costings and projections for this appalling piece of legislation. Instead we have got a report that might as well have been written by Gummer’s Committee on Climate Change –indeed given the 340 pages in the review, it probably was written by the CCC.

We get all of the same platitudes that we have read many times before in CCC handouts – how cheap renewable energy is, millions of green jobs, the UK’s world leadership, how we will all be better off by 2050 (we have to take Skidmore’s word for this!), how we must not fall behind the rest of the world in the race for Net Zero.

I have searched the report comprehensively, and cannot find a single reference to the costs which will have to be borne in the medium term by the public, things like heat pumps, insulation and electric cars. These costs will be unaffordable for most households, and will act as a brake on economic growth in the same way as high energy prices are doing now. Nobody cares about how well off they may be in thirty years time,and certainly won’t believe anybody who tells them he does know. But people do know that current policies will be extremely expensive.

Neither is there any quantification of the massive costs which will be incurred for upgrading electricity grids and distribution networks, and building hydrogen storage and infrastructure. Or the reliance on unproven carbon capture.

Nor is there any critical assessment as to how the country can actually run predominantly on intermittent wind and solar power, albeit backed up by nuclear power. Instead he seems to simply accept the pie-in-the-sky projections of the National Grid.

The report does mention CCC estimates of the need to spend £50 to 60bn a year by the early 2030s. As it points out, most of this will come from private sector investors, who will want high returns. Skidmore does not mention that it will be the poor old consumer who will end up paying for all this though:

And as many critics, including Dieter Helm, have pointed out, successive projections of costings have been woefully speculative.

A proper independent review would have asked all of these questions.

Since its very inception, the Net Zero Act was enacted as a “good idea”, without any plan as to how it could be carried out, or a clearly costed budget.

This review should have been an ideal opportunity to row back, putting the whole thing on the backburner while these fundamental issues were addressed.

Unfortunately it is a chance missed.