Op deze website is vaak betoogd dat onze overheid het parlement en de bevolking cruciale informatie heeft onthouden over de financiële gevolgen van het klimaat- cum decarboniseringsbeleid. Dat geldt echter niet alleen voor ons land, maar ook voor andere landen.

In ons land hebben Theo Wolters en Renate van van Drimmelen (zie hier, hier en hier) berekend wat de kosten van dat beleid zouden kunnen zijn. Zij kwamen op een bedrag van ruim € 100 miljard tot 2020, dat daarna nog verder zou oplopen. De overheid heeft nooit zulke cijfers gepubliceerd en het parlement heeft er nooit over gediscussieerd. Dat is uitzonderlijk, want er worden wèl vaak heftige politieke discussies gevoerd over thema’s die veel minder geld (minder dan één procent van dat bedrag) kosten.

Onlangs heeft de Britse voormalig minister Lilley (zie foto boven) ook een soortgelijk onderzoek uitgevoerd naar de financiële gevolgen van de ‘Climate Change Act’, (2008), die in een vlaag van collectieve verstandsverbijstering met quasi-unanimiteit door het Britse Parlement werd aanvaard, met slechts Lilley en twee van zijn collega’s als tegenstemmers. Lilley’s onderzoek, dat door de ‘Global Warming Policy Foundation’ (GWPF) onlangs in rapportvorm werd uitgegeven, leverde cijfers op die mutatis mutandis grofweg vergelijkbaar zijn met die van de Nederlandse studie.

Ik pik een aantal elementen uit de (uitvoerige) samenvatting van zijn rapport.

1. The costs of the Climate Change Act, which were not discussed at all during its passage through Parliament, are coming home to roost.

2. Those costs – all ultimately borne by households through higher energy bills, increased taxes and a higher cost of living – are already substantial, growing rapidly and hit the most vulnerable hardest.

3. The best way to help ‘just about managing’ households would be to rein back on these costs.

4. Despite the recent decisions to curtail onshore wind subsidies, solar subsidies and the GreenDeal, the total cost of levies, taxes and subsidies to pay for climate policies is set for an 80% increase by 2020, nearly trebling by 2030 and more than quadrupling by 2050.

5. On the basis of figures from the OBR, DECC and the Climate Change Committee (CCC), the average cost of decarbonising electricity to meet Climate Change Act targets was or will be (in 2014 prices):

£327 per household in 2014

£584 per household in 2020

£875 per household in 2030

£1390 per household by 2050 – for the impact of the carbon dioxide emissions tax on electricity prices alone.

6. These costs place a cumulative £10,800 burden on each household, between 2014 and 2030. This is money that could be spent on families’ own priorities, and in more efficient sectors of the economy. Country-wide, this cost amounts to an extraordinary £319 billion, over three times the annual NHS England budget.

7. The post-coalition ministerial team at DECC1 woke up to this impact and began to rein back on some costly subsidies, which is welcome, but merely reschedules the timing of costs. Unless they relax the emissions targets they will not reduce the overall costs.

8. This government should be transparent about the costs of transforming the economy to operate virtually without fossil fuels. Yet coalition DECC ministers tried to pretend climate change policy was practically costless and would even make us better off. Rather than try to persuade people that these costs are justified to benefit future generations, they and other supporters of the Act simply prefer to ignore its costs entirely.

9. That position was always incredible but has been totally discredited by figures released by the CCC, which showtotal public spending on climate change policies via levies and taxes amounted to £6.76 billion in 2014/5 – equivalent to £248 per household. This figure is on a financial year basis and differs in some components from those we have compiled from DECC sources; notably, it excludes carbon taxes. However, it demonstrates that the cost is already substantial.

10. Official figures understate the systemcosts of intermittent renewables, omit the cost of biofuels in transport fuels, ignore Britain’s share of the EU budget (even though ‘at least 20% of the entire European Union budget for 2014–2020 will be spent on climate-related projects and policies’3), include nothing for DfID (which is likely to amount to at least £25 billion by 2030) and FCO spending on climate and exclude the mounting indirect costs such as lost jobs and output as a result of having rendered British industry less competitive.

11. Coalition DECC ministers’ claims that climate policies cost little and would even make households better off involved a number of devices:

They only took account of the one third of levies and taxes which fall on household energy bills. But households also pay through an increased cost of living for the two thirds of climate policy costs that raise the cost of energy for industry.

They ignored the cost of measures that are financed by general taxation – but ultimately households bear the cost of taxes too.

They largely ignored most of the additional costs that intermittent renewables impose on the electricity system – the need for back-up capacity when the wind does not blow or the sun shine; additional ‘balancing’ capacity including ‘spinning reserve’ ready at short notice to cope with fluctuations in supply; and the need to extend and strengthen the grid to connect to distant wind farms etc.

Having understated several-fold the impact of climate policies on Household costs they offset against it the notional energy savings from more efficient appliances, better insulation and so on, giving a wholly spurious positive figure for the impact of climate and energy policies on households.

It is a mistake to offset these efficiency savings against climate policy costs because: continuous improvement in energy efficiencywould be desirable (and occurs under market pressures) even if there were no carbon dioxide emissions; energy efficiency reduces the cost of energy, which usually boosts energy consumption thus offsetting any savings and, as energy is decarbonised, energy savings become increasingly irrelevant to reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

12. Other apologists for the Climate Change Act do not stoop to these devices to hide its costs but still claim that the cost of decarbonising the economy will be comparatively modest.

13. Such claims merit more sceptical scrutiny than they have received, for two reasons. First, replacing fossil fuels by low-carbon energy is a grandiose project that is unprecedented in peacetime, and lesser mega-projects from the ground nut scheme to nuclear have invariably overrun in time and budget or failed outright. Second, the current cost of producing electricity from all the alternatives to fossil fuels is a multiple of the current electricity price.

14. The bulk of the reduction in UK emissions of carbon dioxide below their 1990 level so far has not been due to a switch to renewables but instead the dash-forgas, the great recession post 2008, the closure of coal fired power stations (to comply with EU directives to reduce particulate emissions not carbon dioxide), and outsourcing manufacturing to China and elsewhere. Indeed, on the basis of carbon dioxide emitted in producing the goods and services we consume rather than those produced in the UK, our carbon footprint has actually risen despite all the costly efforts so far.

15. Plans to reach the Climate Change Act target of an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions require virtually eliminating emissions from electric power generation, which counts for about one third of current emissions, and converting the bulk of transport and heating, each of which accounts for a further third, to electricity. Most forecasts largely ignore the cost and even feasibility of those conversions; switching heating from gas to electricity and heat pumps plus storage looks particularly problematic. Instead the focus is on decarbonising a much enhanced electricity sector powering most of the economy. ….

En zo gaat de samenvatting van de analyse van Lilley verder.

Lees verder hier.

Zullen dit soort analyses helpen om een dosis gezond verstand en rationaliteit te injecteren in het klimaat- cum energiebeleid? Naar verwachting zal dat in de VS binnenkort wel gaan lukken. Maar in de greep van meer dan twintig jaar klimaatindoctrinatie lijken dit soort argumenten bij de beleidsmakers in Europa vooralsnog af te glijden als water van de veren van een eend.

Voor mijn eerdere bijdragen over klimaat en aanverwante zaken zie hierhier, hier, hier en hier.