Costs exceed benefits
Mar 6, 2013
Bishop Hill in Climate: Parliament, Climate: WG3

A new book on the history of the UK's relationship with climate change by Rupert Darwall is published today. I hope to have a review in due course. In the meantime Darwall has an article in the Telegraph to launch the book. I don't think there's much that will be new to the BH reader, but it's important to keep reiterating the lunacy of the policies of successive governments.

One reason Britain has gone so far down the green path is that politicians have not been honest about its economic implications. During the passage of the Climate Change Act in 2008, which commits Britain to cutting net carbon emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050, the energy minister Phil Woolas rejected his own department’s estimate that the costs could exceed the benefits by £95 billion. The House of Commons never debated the costs and the Bill was passed, with only five MPs voting against.

An even more egregious example is provided by Ed Miliband, when he was climate change secretary. The Tory MP Peter Lilley had written to Mr Miliband to say that, based on his department’s own impact statement, the Climate Change Act would cost households an average of between £16,000 and £20,000. The future Labour leader replied that the statement showed that the benefits to British society of successful action on climate change would be far higher than the cost. Mr Miliband should have known this was untrue; if he didn’t, he had no business certifying that he’d read the impact statement, which he’d signed just six weeks earlier. The statement only estimated the benefits of slightly cooler temperatures for the world as a whole, not for the UK.

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