Status Report From Another Would Be “Climate Leader,” The UK

by Francis Menton at

At any given moment in the course of human events, not everyone can be the leader. And thus can the world only have a small number of “climate leaders” to light us the way to the Great Green Energy Nirvana of the future.

Among that select group of “climate leaders,” New York is definitely one. We know that because New York enacted its Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in 2018, announcing its “climate leadership” to the world for all to envy.

But there are a handful of jurisdictions out there that are not to be outdone in the competition for the title of “climate leader.” One of those is the UK. Ten years before New York even entered the competition, the UK had enacted its Climate Change Act of 2008, setting an initial round of legally-binding emissions reduction targets (80% below 1990 levels by 2050). Then, in 2019 the UK upped the ante, committing by statute to “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions for its entire economy by 2050.

We know from my last post how things are going with this “climate leadership” thing in New York: five years into the competition, New York’s greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased substantially, as two large new natural gas power plants have replaced electricity generation from two prematurely-closed emissions-free nuclear facilities, while generation of electricity from wind and solar has barely budged.

Has the UK been any more successful? Rupert Darwall, writing under the auspices of the Real Clear Foundation, has produced a comprehensive update, with a date of December 2023. The title tells you all you need to know: “The Folly of Climate Leadership: Net zero and Britain’s Disastrous Energy Policies.”