The case against net zero CO2 emissions
Written by Douglas S Brodie, BSc
Douglas Brodie pens a letter to UK politicians about the folly of cutting CO2 emissions. His piece should resonate among Australians, too. Full letter below:
To: Mrs Andrea Leadsom MP, Business Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org
cc: Mr Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Energy Minister
Dear Mrs Leadsom,
Congratulations on your appointment as Business Secretary.
I emailed Boris Johnson shortly before he was appointed PM advising him against supporting Theresa May’s “net zero emissions” policy but for some inexplicable reason he seems to have ignored my advice!
It is hard to understand why the establishment is so gloomy and strident about alleged man-made global warming when anyone who takes the trouble to look up the latest meteorological facts will be pleased to see that current global temperatures are much the same as they were about 20 years ago and falling instead of rising steadily and dangerously as establishment climate doomsters have wrongly predicted.
Despite the meteorological good news, hardly any bad weather events occur anywhere in the world without hysterical claims from blinkered politicians and environmentalists, brainwashed school children and the handwringing, scaremongering media, invariably made without a shred of scientific or statistical evidence, that it is all due to “climate change”. What they really mean (irrationally) is that it’s all our fault for having started the Industrial Revolution and we need to atone! Climate alarmists seem to enjoy wallowing in negativity and ideological guilt.
Our angst-ridden politicians are now making fools of themselves by declaring a totally unwarranted “climate emergency” and pushing for mind-bogglinglyimpossible global CO2 emissions cuts within farcically impossible timescales by means of a global “net zero emissions” policy. It is hard to believe they can be so detached from reality as to think they could actually succeed in such an unrealistic and impractical endeavour.
They will find it hard to ignore the grim reality of the recent UK blackouts which out of a clear blue sky affected a million people and caused hours of disruption. That fiasco showed that the current modest penetration level of wind power, the UK’s flagship renewable, may already have reached its upper limit to avoid overwhelming the grid on days when electricity demand is low, the wind is strong and the sun is shining. This inconvenient engineering reality could be the final nail in the coffin of the already forlorn political hopes for a “low-carbon economy”.
The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2019 shows that the world is a captive 85% dependent on fossil fuels for its energy supply while global wind and solar contribute a mere 1.2% despite fuel poverty-inducing levels of public subsidies. The corresponding UK figures are 79% and 3.1% showing that a decade of Climate Change Act striving has barely scratched the surface of trying to decarbonise the UK economy. The drop from 89% in UK 2008 fossil fuel dependency has been partly due to de-industrialisation, a perverse side-effect of climate policy.
The 2018 daily average world consumption of energy from fossil fuels – oil, natural gas and coal – was 230 Mboe (millions of barrels of oil equivalent). That number seems quite daunting until expressed as barrels of oil equivalent per head of world population (7,714 million) when it comes down to just 0.03 boe per day, less than a barrel a month per person. Not bad considering that the energy from fossil fuels serves as the essential lifeblood of our world civilisation. Conversely, without those modest 0.03 barrels of oil equivalent per head per day the world economy would literally grind to a halt and deadly chaos would prevail. Yet climate alarmists are now demanding that the world must rapidly eliminate and/or mitigate these vital fossil fuel energy supplies – all 230 million (and rising) barrels of oil equivalent per day – by means which are utterly unrealistic and impractical.
Reality-denying climate alarmists pushing for global net zero emissions are leading us on a fools mission. They seem to think it straightforward to use a mix of expensive, inefficient, weather-dependent renewables cobbled together with expensive, inefficient technological bolt-ons, the whole Heath Robinson mishmash scaled up an unworkable 90 fold or more from the miniscule current levels of global wind and solar power to eliminate the consumption of and/or the emissions from fossil fuels across the globe. These people are living in cloud cuckoo land, relying on “magical thinking”. They clearly haven’t got a clue just how technically, logistically, financially and politically impossible global net zero emissions would be, not least due to the immutable physics of energy, especially those who show that they are not really serious by shunning energy dense emissions-free nuclear power. The depth of their lack of understanding is illuminated by these inconvenient energy realities.
The UK net zero regime is envisaged as using expensive, impractical at scale weather-dependent renewables supported by minimal gas-fired electricity and astronomically expensive batteries, expensive and inefficient energy conversion and CO2 sequestration schemes and the expensive conversion of our heating and transport systems and entire way of life to eliminate the consumption of and/or the emissions from the fossil fuels which currently supply 79% of UK energy. The chances of this succeeding are about zero. If pursued it will impoverish us and force more of UK manufacturing to flee to cheaper energy countries abroad, probably resulting in a perverse net increase in global emissions.
It is obvious from the stalemate of the non-binding Paris Climate Accord that hardly any of the rest of the world would follow the UK in a self-harming net zero emissions policy even if there were sufficient global mineral resources for them to do so, which there almost certainly are not. Hence there would be negligible global benefit from the UK trying to go it alone.
The Slow Unravelling of the Climate Change Movement
It has not yet dawned on the gullible climate change zealots who hang on every pronouncement from the UN IPCC high priests of climate change that their man-made global warming crusade was condemned to irrelevance by the UN IPCC itself on that glad day in October 2018 when it issued its 1.5º Special Report. This is because it totally lost the plot as a direct result of its own flawed climate pseudo-science in calling for mind-bogglingly impossible global emissions cuts within farcically impossible timescales, namely that “global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.” So far the complicit mainstream media and establishment chattering classes have simply ignored the show-stopping implications of these targets.
The world is currently 85% dependent on fossil fuels to meet its ever-increasing demand for energy with the balance made up of difficult to expand hydro (7%), nuclear (4%) and low-energy density renewables (4%) which include eco-unfriendly biofuels and biomass (felled forests). Hence it shouldn’t take the general public long to twig that the called-for global net zero targets are utterly unachievable short of shutting down the entire world economy. As for capturing and storing and otherwise mitigating global CO2 emissions by means of “carbon unicorns”, dream on! Even the blinkered politicians promoting this global net zero fantasy will before long realise that it is a lost cause. This will finish off the politically-motivated, virtue-signalling climate change scare for good as politicians will stop promoting it when it is clear that they cannot offer any supposed “solution” to their supposed climate “crisis”.
That supposed climate “crisis” is now looking distinctly unthreatening following the dissipation of the massive 2016 El Nino and its minor successor which led to years of headlines about “the hottest temperatures ever”, unscientifically suggesting that this was due to human influence when El Ninos are natural phenomena fuelled by sunlight. The inconvenient truth is that the well-documented “pause” in global temperatures from around the turn of the century which even the alarmist Met Office conceded in 2014 has now been reinstated, with global temperatures much the same as they were over 20 years agoand falling despite steadily rising levels of atmospheric CO2.
As for the supposed “solution” to the supposed climate crisis, global CO2 emissions have been on a rising trend for decades driven by the ever-increasing global demand for energy. Global energy consumption rose by 18% in the last decade alone driven almost entirely by the developing countries includingChina and India which make up the vast bulk of the world’s population and which are not bound in any way by the Paris Climate Accord. These countries are collectively building hundreds of cheap reliable coal power stations which will be in service well beyond 2050. In fact global energy demand is reportedlyset to double by 2050, to be supplied overwhelmingly by fossil fuels.
The UN IPCC’s “plan” for a global 45% emissions cut by 2030, in practice a near 45% economy-crushing cut in global energy consumption then global net zero by 2050 is certain to end in humiliating failure short of the sudden imposition of an authoritarian world government. The most likely reality is that global CO2 emissions will continue to rise year on year for the foreseeable future. Climate fanatics like Theresa May and Claire Perry (president of COP26 in 2020, so help us) who are pushing for global net zero emissions are simply making fools of themselves, putting off the unavoidable day of reckoning with reality and needlessly dragging the country into further fuel poverty (already 27% in Scotland) and worse, such as five-day power cuts. President Trump seems to be the only world leader with the common sense to understand this and the integrity and confidence to say so and take his country out of theuseless, posturing Paris Climate Accord.
The recent power cuts which affected a million people and caused hours of disruption have done us a favour by highlighting how our efforts to decarbonise the UK economy are leading us into a hopeless energy cul-de-sac. The establishment is doing its utmost to gloss over the incident which was almost certainly due to system fragility caused by having too much non-synchronous wind power connected to the national grid. This problem also applies to solar power and interconnector imports. Shortly before the incident the climate change cheerleaders at National Grid boasted in a tweet that wind power was close to setting an all-time record. Yet a full decade after the Climate Change Act came into force annual UK wind power electricity supply in 2018 was apaltry 2.6% of annual UK primary energy supply, or 2.4% according to Dukes 2019, in other words going nowhere, slowly. Our national electricity capacity margin is already wafer thin yet our irresponsible politicians want to close down all our reliable, dispatchable coal power stations and many of our gas power stations in favour of yet more non-synchronous, non-guaranteed supplies which will make the grid even more unstable. Our politicians were warned a decade ago by the then chief scientific advisor Professor Sir David Mackay that trying to power the UK economy with intermittent renewables was an appalling delusion but in their quasi-religious climate change fervour they chose to ignore him. It’s high time they faced up to reality.
It is obvious that global net zero emissions can never be achieved using today’s technically unattractive renewables technology. This does not mean that the planet will suffer thermageddon without the UN IPCC’s draconian global emissions cuts because they are hopelessly exaggerated by the same flawed climate pseudo-science as their hopelessly exaggerating computer climate models which attribute atmospheric CO2 to have a far greater influence on the global climate than is actually the case. This is exposed by this devastating graph from this testimony to the US Senate by a professor of climate science which shows climate model temperature predictions racing wildly ahead of actual observations despite steadily rising levels of atmospheric CO2. Climate alarmists treat the general public with disdain by turning a blind eye to this scientific evidence and the net flatlining of global temperatures over the last 20 years just so that they can spin out their climate change play-acting with no regard to the pointless hardships it inflicts on ordinary people, especially the poor and vulnerable.
Climate Change Denial of Democracy
Theresa May’s absurd net zero emissions plan has been foist on the people of the UK with consensus support from all the main establishment politicians like Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson et al without any political mandate, national discussion or due diligence cost-benefit analysis. Its cost has been estimated at over £1 trillion (some say much more) yet the best it could give us in the unlikely event that it were pursued to completion would be an energy infrastructure which is ultra expensive (at least £50 billion per year), uncompetitive (most other countries will not hobble themselves in this way), insecure (insufficient baseload, reliance on uncertain electricity imports), short lifespan (offshore wind), technically unstable (low inertia), dangerous (CCS, household hydrogen) and in reality not particularly green.
What sort of politics is it that needs to insult the intelligence of the general public with such total lack of consultation or public debate combined with such high levels of spin, dissembling and blatant lies? Answer: It’s the politics of a globalist cultural elite answerable to no one pursuing a monumentally flawed, politically-contrived climate theory now in too deep to backtrack or even call for a face-saving independent review. Common sense arguments against the truth-twisting establishment’s obsession with climate change are given here.
Why not put that £1 trillion into achievable, properly sustainable technology like small-scale, safe, short half-life, emissions-free thorium nuclear reactors? Why not ramp up research into emissions-free nuclear fusion power? Why not use some of the money to alleviate so-called austerity instead of making it worse by wasting money on expensive, inefficient so-called renewables which are never going to work at scale?
Eventually our angst-ridden climate obsessed politicians will realise that they are getting nowhere with their pointless decarbonisation attempts using wholly inappropriate so-called renewables – but how much damage will they do before then and will they ever have the humility to admit they were wrong? Hopefully the wider public will sooner rather than later come to their senses, realise they have been duped and vote the dogmatists out of office before they do any further pointless damage to our economy and energy infrastructure.
Theresa May’s net zero emissions plan was waved through the Commons without a vote but the identities of over 190 of our delusional net zero-supporting MPs are given here, overwhelmingly Remainers (e.g. Allen, Cable, Cherry, Greening, Harman, Letwin, Long-Bailey, Miliband, Sandbach, Soubry, Spelman, Swinson, Umunna, Vaisey, Wollaston, …) all committed to misguided “nanny knows best” globalist policies. Without their baleful influence we could free ourselves from any remaining climate commitments to the “green-energy basket case” EU, withdraw from the useless Paris Climate Accord, ditch the net zero emissions plan and the Climate Change Act and revert to a more pragmatic and much, much cheaper climate policy of adaption as and when necessaryas concluded here.
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