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In a short paper published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) Dr John Constable, the GWPF’s energy editor, warns of big economic risks of using ‘climate-related’ stimulus spending as governments around the world are attempting to restart the global economy as it emerges from lockdown.

The paper is based on comments in a webinar on ‘The Net Zero Threat to Economic Recovery’ which took place yesterday (14 May) and is available online.

Dr Constable notes that the large costs and low productivity of renewable energy makes them paradoxically attractive to any government trying to generate the short-run impression that it is doing something to restart the economy.

The paper notes that, contrary to claims by the green energy industry, the costs of renewable energy remain extremely high relative to the alternatives, and that this is not surprising since the underlying thermodynamics of renewables are unfavourable.

“The historical emergence of economic growth in the 19th century and its continuation is dependent on the use of superior fuels – fossil fuels and nuclear. It would be a grave error to compel the world’s economies to reject cheap fuels in the present hour of need,” Dr Constable said.

“Government will be tempted to use green Net Zero spending to revitalise the UK economy in the wake of Covid-19 because the gross effects are so large. But in the medium term it will actually make matters much, much worse because of the negative effect of using inferior, low-productivity energy sources in bulk. The only way to ensure that economies return to long-term health is to move back to low-cost energy.  “

The Fatal Attraction Of A Post-Covid Green Deal (pdf)