UK Upper House Delivers Climate Rebuke
Members of the upper house of the UK parliament rebuked the government June 26 for its haste in committing the country to a net zero emissions target.
The House of Lords said the move was made with little scrutiny and no plan for how it might be achieved, according to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a lobby group with unclear funding.
Finance minister Philip Hammond has warned that the cost of reducing net greenhouse emissions to zero by 2050 could be well in excess of £1 trillion.
"MPs were happy to nod through the measure in less than 90 minutes. As a statutory instrument, it only required minimal scrutiny and no impact assessment had to be prepared," said GWPF in a statement June 27.
The net zero emissions target is likely to do enormous harm to the poorest people in society, who will be asked to pay relatively more for their energy and could be priced out of activities such as driving cars and flying abroad, the statement reads. Not a single MP spoke out against the proposal, instead they all congratulated themselves on how Britain was 'leading the world', it continued.
Earlier in the week, Nigel Lawson, who chaired GWPF until January 2019, warned peers in a letter that they risked committing Britain to 'astronomical costs' by voting for net zero. The debate in the lords was much more rigorous than in the commons, the GWPF claims, with a number of peers warning that the measure had not been properly thought through.
Viscount [Matt] Ridley said that the figures provided to the parliament by the Committee on Cimate Change (CCC) on the cost of net zero were vague and opaque: "He [Lord Deben, head of CCC, known as Nicholas Ridley] has referred to a statement that gives 1.3% of GDP as an estimate of the sum of the resource cost, yet there is no breakdown of the resource cost. My noble friend Lord Deben says that it is all set out in detail. In fact, it is not: it is impossible to get at how this calculation was arrived at."
The impact it may have on the poorest in society was an issue taken up by Lord Donoughue, the GWPF chair, who asked: "Will it be, as is the case with the £15bn in current climate costs, that the working people of this country carry the main burden, relative to their incomes, through paying significantly higher energy costs and green taxes to subsidise renewables?"
Peers then voted for an amendment which expressed regret that the government had "given little detail of how the emissions target will be met" and "made a substantial change in policy without the full and proper scrutiny that such a change deserves."
The new emissions target will still go through, but the move will be seen as a rebuke to the prime minister for pushing through such an expensive measure without the checks and balances that parliament is supposed to provide, said GWPF.
Set up to challenge commonly-accepted beliefs about climate change, the GWPF has not disclosed the source of its funding.