New Paper: Decarbonisation Plans Fail Engineering Reality Check

  • Date: 19/05/20
  • Press Release, Global Warming Policy Foundation

Net Zero target is “madness”

Britain’s plans to decarbonise the economy have not been properly thought through, and there is a dangerous lack of systems and project engineering input. That’s according to Michael Kelly, emeritus professor of technology in the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge, who says that replacing fossil fuels with electricity from renewables is impractical on the timescale of 2050.

“It’s clear that there has been little or no systems engineering input into the plans. How can we possibly proceed further along the renewables path when we lack any technology to store electricity at scale? How can we hope to electrify transport when we would need to consume the whole global annual supply of several important minerals to do so, just for the UK?”

And Professor Kelly warns that the costs of decarbonising will be ruinous of our current standards of living.

“The cost of the wind farms and the batteries and rewiring the grid to cope with the all the extra demand would be folly for an economy at the best of times. In the current crisis it’s madness. It’s like coronavirus all over again. A small group of advisers tell the politicians about the disaster that will befall the country if they don’t do as they are told. And the results will be just as calamitous as the virus has been. If not worse.”

Professor Kelly’s position is set out in a new paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Note for editors

Michael Kelly is the Emeritus Prince Philip Professor of Technology at the University of Cambridge. He was a Chief Scientific Advisor to the UK Department for Communities and Local Government. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is a trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

Electrifying the UK and the want of engineering (pdf)