As our leaders bicker over how fast Britain should get to Net Zero, you’ll hear politicians, eco-zealots and media pundits claiming that Britain is leading the world in reducing our country’s CO2 emissions. This is one of the few statements about climate made by our ruling elites which does actually appear to be true. Since 1990, Britain’s CO2 emissions have almost halved from 604 million metric tons to just under 350 million tons by 2022. That equates to a drop from 10 metric tons per capita in 1990 to below five tons per capita:
While celebrating this great supposed ‘success’, our politicians, media and eco-activists often seem less keen to explain how this reduction in CO2 emissions was achieved.
Here’s another chart. It shows the share of the U.K.’s GDP made up by manufacturing:
Since 1990, the year U.K. CO2 emissions started falling, the percentage of U.K. GDP from manufacturing has also halved from just over 16% to around 8%.
Moreover, during the same period, the number of people employed in U.K. manufacturing has dropped from 4,963,000 to just 2,601,000. A cynic mighty be tempted to wonder what happened to all those hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled, highly-paid green jobs that our rulers promised us would be created in Britain by the energy transition away from fossil fuels to renewables.
For years the U.K. has had some of the world’s highest energy prices due to our replacement of cheap, reliable fossil fuels with expensive, unreliable and intermittent supposed ‘renewables’. In 2022, in the U.K., which gets only 42% of its electricity from fossil fuels, household energy cost $0.41/kWh. In France, where 70% of its electricity comes from cheap, reliable nuclear, electricity costs were just $0.21/kWh – almost half the U.K. price. In the U.S., which generates about 60% of its energy from fossil fuels, the price was $0.18/kWh – less than half the U.K.’s cost. In China, where 55% of electricity comes from coal and a total of 83% comes from fossil fuels, household electricity costs are only $0.08/kWh – a quarter of the U.K.’s cost. There is a similar picture in India, where over 75% of electricity generation is from fossil fuels, of which three quarters comes from cheap, energy-rich coal, household energy costs only $0.07/kWh – a sixth of the U.K. cost.
So, just to put all of this into context, we can look at how much of the U.K.’s GDP comes from manufacturing – making real things that people in Britain and abroad want to buy – compared to our major competitors. In 2022, 8% of the U.K.’s GDP came from manufacturing compared to 9% for France, 12% for the U.S.A., 13% for India, 14% for Italy, 18% for Germany and a massive 28% for China.