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The costs of going green

Summary:
We’re told that plans to go green will cost some £1.4 trillion:And it will also cost an eye-watering sum – as much as £1.4 trillion, according to the Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on its net-zero strategy.This, very sadly, being an underestimate.The actual cost of something is whatever must be given up in order to gain it. Which means there are further costs to consider, over and above the mere money:According to Wells, the shift to electric needs to coincide with significant behavioural change in order to be a success in actually driving down emissions, with far less car ownership. The Government hopes half of all urban journeys will be taken by foot or bicycle by 2030.“It is a mistake to think we can simply replicate our petrol and diesel fleet in electric and

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We’re told that plans to go green will cost some £1.4 trillion:

And it will also cost an eye-watering sum – as much as £1.4 trillion, according to the Climate Change Committee, which advises the Government on its net-zero strategy.

This, very sadly, being an underestimate.

The actual cost of something is whatever must be given up in order to gain it. Which means there are further costs to consider, over and above the mere money:

According to Wells, the shift to electric needs to coincide with significant behavioural change in order to be a success in actually driving down emissions, with far less car ownership. The Government hopes half of all urban journeys will be taken by foot or bicycle by 2030.

“It is a mistake to think we can simply replicate our petrol and diesel fleet in electric and use our cars the way we do now,” he says. “That in itself is a significant policy failure.”

We’re all to have less freedom and mobility.

There are obvious health and societal benefits in eating seasonally, locally and limiting the amount of meat and dairy in our diets.

We’re to return to the diets of medieval peasants - meat to be for high and holy days only.

It has also pledged to introduce a standardised approach where green waste, food waste and tougher-to-recycle plastics – from single-use polyethylene plastic bags to the pump mechanisms in bottled lotion dispensers – will be collected from every home across the country.

We’re all to spend many more hours sorting things for the binmen.

We will be expected to bring an array of empty tubs and cartons to fill up at the supermarket, while high street fashion labels such as H&M are increasingly trialling repair shops where customers can bring in old garments for recycling, rather than merely buying new ones.

The assumption that washing the tupperware uses fewer resources than fresh single use plastic is very dodgy indeed. And don’t you just love that word “merely” about us all going back to wearing patched rags?

Unless new technologies are rapidly advanced, it seems to meet net zero, staycations are here to stay. “The unpalatable truth,” she says, “is we really have to fly less or at least not allow aviation to increase as it has done.”

Do not even think of jetting off to find the Sun.

The costs of going green are very much higher than that £1.4 trillion.

As the Stern Review itself pointed out, humans tend to do less of more expensive things, more of those cheaper. There has to be a concentration upon dealing with climate change the cheap way therefore - because that’s the way we’ll do more of it. Or, as the Review also pointed out, stop damn planning things and get the market prices right and leave well alone afterwards.

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Tim Worstall
Tim Worstall is a British-born writer and Senior Fellow of the Adam Smith Institute. Worstall is a regular contributor to Forbes and the Register. He has also written for the Guardian, the New York Times, PandoDaily, the Daily Telegraph blogs, the Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010 his blog was listed as one of the top 100 UK political blogs by Total Politics.

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