But perhaps by 2050 the realisation will begin to dawn. There will not have been the slightest detectable impact on the climate. Let’s not pretend to ourselves: climate change is real. The climate has been changing since the day since weather began. It changes across time and place. It has always done and it always will.
But after spending all that money and throwing all that labour into Net Zero, the weather extremes, whatever they are and whatever they are caused by, will continue. The prospect of Armageddon will remain unabated, even if Armageddon itself turns out to be curiously elusive. Since Britain produces 1% of the world’s emissions, even if stopping global emissions was capable of arresting or affecting climate change there will be no discernible change from Britain’s efforts.
Let us, if you will, project our imaginations forward 27 years to 2050. It may seem a long way off, but it isn’t. Let’s also imagine that a succession of British Governments have pulled off the remarkable achievement of Net Zero. Britain now has Net Zero carbon omissions, a challenge predicated on the ceaseless predictions of climate apocalypse, averting the prospect of irreversible climate change and even the imminent death of the planet.
A succession of Governments with laws, penalties, quotas, compulsory scrappage and subsidies have achieved the unimaginable and at stratospheric cost to every citizen in Britain. Outside houses (or at least most of them) a whirring heat pump trundles away, pumping its mildly warm water around the house for most of the year, and with variable effectiveness depending on the house concerned. Within, the rooms are all but hermetically sealed to keep the vapid heat the pumps produce inside.
For those who can afford them, an electric car sits outside too, connected to the house’s electricity supply by an umbilical cord. For others, cables are draped across the pavements and every car park across the land is filled with battalions of chargers and more cables. After decades of dedication to the cause every sidewalk across the land has been torn up and the necessary mains cables installed. But no matter – the work is done, and the nation can bask now in its new identity as the leading clean-charging nation on Earth.
On the roofs of houses everywhere are untold numbers of solar panels, at least for those homes with the roof space to accommodate them, busily charging a stack of batteries resembling an extravagant 1970s HiFi system – at least on the days that Britain’s wan and unreliable sun deigns to charge them.
Across the land, field after field has been given over to solar panels and wind turbines.
Vast quantities of private and public money have been poured into this scheme and all for the laudable purpose of Saving the Planet. The righteous glow is palpable. Britain has led the world into the Promised Land.
Let’s have no cynicism here please. Let’s believe that this has all been pulled off with startling success, despite the cost. The naysayers have been crushed, forced to back down and accept that the Cult of Net Zero has taken the country to the gateway to a clean Utopia.
And there have been benefits – of a sort. For the right type of house, the feeble warmth of a heat pump may work very well though it will be exceeded by the righteous glow of the owners who exult in the triumphant conversion of their home. Electric cars are, so I am told, a delightful ride. Gone are smelly exhausts and oil changes, along with clatter of diesel engines and their particulants.
Everyone has done The Right Thing. And of course. it’s better to have a cleaner and non-polluting way of life, especially if one can quietly brush over where and how the necessary equipment was manufactured and the necessary power was generated.