Goldman Sachs, the voice of Big Money and Mr. Sunak’s alma mater, has just released its latest Carbonomics report on what the global energy system will look like over the next 20 years. This is sobering reading for refuseniks. The old order will be swept away at a breakneck pace and the next super-billionaires will be in green hydrogen, electrolysis, energy storage, smart meters, electric vehicle charging networks, insulation, etc. .
Goldman thinks overall per capita energy costs in Europe and the UK will fall 36% below pre-Ukrainian averages by 2050. The International Monetary Fund and International Energy Agency say the energy bill as a percentage of GDP will halve, from 4% to 2% by mid-2050. century under accelerated green plans. It’s a gain, not a cost.
Personally, I support drilling in the North Sea on the grounds that it is good for national security, good for the balance of trade and good for the climate – as well-regulated UK gas emits less CO2 and methane. But the Goldman report makes it clear that demand for gas and oil will see a steep decline from the mid-2020s. Be careful if you jump on the wrong bandwagon.
Rishi Sunak understands “carbonomics”. He’s shown courage in sticking to his guns (sort of) on austerity – although I don’t agree with the politics – so why stoop to obscurantist net zero nonsense instead of proclaiming the economic possibilities of green technology?
He speaks of his “unshakeable faith in the future” and of the moral duty not to pass our debts on to our children. He could usefully apply this principle to the planet. How much national and global credibility would he gain if he confronted hidden deniers head-on and committed to defeating them?
The Burkean conservative code is an intergenerational duty, the Eternal Society Contract, “a partnership not only between those who live, but between those who live, those who are dead and those who are yet to be born”. It entails a moral obligation to pass on the world we have inherited unscathed.