An Open Letter to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Dear Chris,

I am hoping that you read Bjorn Lomborg’s article in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph, entitled “The EU’s response to global warming is a costly mistake”.  You can find his article at

As you will be aware, Lomborg started out as a green zealot, but soon started to doubt the policies we were pursing on climate mitigation.  He is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist. Like you, he is a believer in Anthropogenic Global Warming, despite the increasing doubts of scientists and the general public.  But he is convinced that the policies currently being pursued will involve huge expense, but at best will achieve changes of mean global temperatures almost too small to measure.

He is especially concerned about the EU’s 20/20/20 programme.  He has done extensive research on this question himself, and has drawn on the work of distinguished economists like Richard Tol.

The EU estimates the annual cost of its programme at £39 billion.  But drawing on the best-regarded economic models, Lomborg argues that the best-case cost will be £90 billion a year.  Even this depends on using an optimal mix of low-carbon generating technologies.  But the EU, with its perverse insistence on high-cost renewables, risks driving the cost to as much as £170 billion a year.  Yet the estimated reduction in mean global temperatures which would be achieved by this programme by 2100 is only 0.05 degrees Centigrade.

Using standard figures for the damage done by CO2 emissions, the benefit of the programme would be around £5.7 billion – around 3% of the cost.

Some in the EU are calling for the carbon emissions reduction target to be increased to 30%.  You yourself, Chris, are the only Energy Minister from a major EU state who has supported this call.  This, it is estimated, would take the annual cost to £370 billion.  Yet the incremental result would be only one hundredth of a degree reduction in temperature.

If you believe that Lomborg’s position has any credibility at all, then I think you have a duty as Secretary of State for Energy and Climate, to set out a reasoned response, and to give us your estimates of the cost of your programme, and the outcome you expect in terms of changes to mean global temperatures.  There is a very real risk that your policies will cause untold economic damage, and condemn the British people to a generation of poverty, while having no effect at all on climate.

I look forward to your response.

Best regards.  Roger.


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4 Responses to An Open Letter to Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

  1. Excellent letter.

    May be you could point him to this?

    Click to access UK_Carbon_Cut_Targets,_Wealth_&_Per_Capita_Emissions.pdf

    A 30% cut in carbon usage in the UK would make life in the UK more like that in Ukraine, Iran, or Venezuela.

    In terms of per capita carbon usage, the UK is 38th in the league table and the UK is already well above average in efficiency in converting carbon usage to GDP, in fact 14th most efficient. Most of the countries with better efficiency have either high levels of nuclear power or hydro-electric/geothermal.

  2. The link seem to be broken, so I’ll try again:

  3. Richard J says:

    Unfortunately, logic is not part of a zealots DNA. So we are trapped on the horns of the perfect double blind dilemma.

  4. alexei says:

    The results of the recent so-called “investigations” into various questionable practices of certain IPCC participants, might suggest a predetermined intention to “whitewash”. I could not possibly comment….

    Nevertheless, there does seem to be a universal desire by leaders in the West to press ahead with their plans, regardless of the science, public opinion or costs/disbenefits to the public – a sure indication of the demise of democracy.

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