London, 29 December: The GWPF is today publishing a short study of the emissions abatement costs revealed in the recently published UK Energy White Paper, Powering Our Net Zero Future.
The GWPF is calling on government to release without delay this “MACC curve” and its underlying rationale, so that its quality can be assessed. Without this data, MPs and the public are unable to make an objective assessment of the costs and benefits of the Net Zero target.
Even from the limited information so far published, it is clear that the costs are extremely high, many times higher than the harm done by carbon dioxide – the so-called “social cost of carbon”.
Furthermore, the government’s estimates are critically sensitive to the cost of wind power, about which government is unrealistically optimistic. An empirically grounded assessment of wind power costs suggest that the costs required to deliver Net Zero by 2050, with demanding interim milestone targets for 2030, will be extremely high, well in excess of £250/tCO2e, at least five times the mainstream value for the social cost of carbon.Costs at this level imply a total annual abatement cost in 2050 of up to £80 billion a year. This would, almost certainly, make the electricity on which Net Zero depends to decarbonise heat and transport essentially unaffordable.