Back in the 1970s Britain was routinely described as ‘the sick man of Europe’. As we enter the fourth decade of the twenty-first century it seems germane to look back and ask how Britain managed to come to a point, in just a decade, of once again routinely bearing that sad appellation. Today we see the beleaguered, devalued Pound pegged at 2.3 Chinese Yuan and once again see rampant stagflation, with inflation at 12.6% (from less than 1% at the start of the decade) largely thanks to escalating energy, food and commodity prices and 3.6 million unemployed (double that at the start of the decade) largely thanks to the collapse of the steel, cement, aerospace and car manufacturing industries. We also see deep social unrest across the country resulting from the steadily falling standards of living, coupled with peoples’ inability to heat their homes adequately or affordably with heat pumps, coupled with regular blackouts, coupled with regular food shortages – and permanent restrictions in our freedoms, such as how we may heat our homes, what type of car we may buy, how many miles we may drive it and how many flights we may take. And all this ‘Green Austerity’ and misery as a result of, of all things, Britain’s arcane battle to deliver net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
How could the people of Britain have chosen such a disastrous path? Perhaps the answer is ‘thoughtlessly’. For they surely would never have elected to go down the road to ruin if the destination had been spelt out to them back in 2021. And each step on that road was relatively small and incremental – so the costs and impacts crept up on the population by stealth. As former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak put it in his recent memoirs With the Best of Intentions, ‘Each step we took on the path to net zero appeared sensible and responsible at the time, and anyway was necessitated by the legally-bound commitments of successive British governments to achieve net zero by 2050. But we never stood back and asked fundamental questions such as, ”How reliable is the science behind all this?” or “Is the adverse socioeconomic impact on our citizens acceptable?” or “Would it actually be more cost-effective to adapt to the warming?” or “Will Britain achieving net zero actually have any detectable effect on anyone’s climate?” – or even “Is net zero actually technologically possible?” Being perceived to achieve global climate leadership came to dominate our thinking and our energy and economic policies and, although perhaps subconsciously we knew that these policies made little or no socioeconomic sense and that even achieving the net zero goal would have no detectable effect on anybody’s climate, we chose simply not to think about it.’ Later he points out, ‘The UK Climate Change Committee kept telling us that net zero was “achievable” and “affordable” – but the fact is that nobody knew how to run an advanced economy, or even keep the lights on, without fossil fuels. And the cost kept escalating, first £1 trillion, then £1.4 trillion, then £2.3 trillion, then £3 trillion and so terrifyingly on. Basically we were on a runaway train and the only way to stop it would have been to repeal, or at least suspend, the Climate Change Act. But that would have been political suicide. It was not just the Green and youth vote that would have gone – the wider electorate believed in the climate emergency. After all, we had been the ones to tell them that it existed.’
It began innocuously enough in early 2022 with the ‘Cut the Carbon’ national campaign and the creation of the voluntary role of ‘Climate Constables’ who were tasked with reporting to the Police ‘climidiots’ who, for example, used their cars for journeys that could have been taken by bicycle or who switched on their central heating outside government-mandated winter months or were seen to have set their house thermostat to above the government-mandated maximum of 180C. Few understood the complex and ever-changing rules about what was and what wasn’t acceptable and so few managed to avoid the fine in the post. Rather more insidious change occurred later that year when Climate Studies became a compulsory part of the curriculum for all state schools. Unfortunately this did not actually teach climate science, in all its complexities and uncertainties and competing theories, but simply government-approved climate science, effectively starting with the assumption that a man-made climate emergency did, in fact, exist. This culture even extended beyond the teaching of science, with, for example, History lessons focusing on Britain’s historical shame for being the crucible of the Industrial Revolution and so carbon pollution. In this way our children were indoctrinated from an early age in beliefs that now appear highly scientifically contentious. As Britain’s satirical magazine Private Eye (Issue 1571) remarked, not entirely in jest, it was only a matter of time before pupils would be asked to report the ‘climate crimes’ of their parents to the authorities.
2023 saw the 15 year old climate activist Sion Darks win the first National Climate Change Essay for Children with his paper Capitalism vs Climatism; he would then go on to found the Climate Revolution Party, that now holds such an influential role in British politics, with its ‘climate struggle’ message. That year also saw the release of the 26th James Bond movie Climate of Fear, in which the villain, Xi Blojing, was a Chinese terrorist who, from his vast bunker under the Forbidden City, threatened to flood the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and so destroy the planet by runaway global warming.
Then, in 2024, came the introduction of the Pollution Adjustment Tax (essentially a carbon border tax) that greatly increased the cost of imports from the Developing nations (especially China). This had a stark effect on peoples’ standards of living but, unfortunately, just resulted in retaliatory Climate Reparation Taxes from the countries affected and so did little more than create the ongoing trade war. 2024 also saw the introduction of road pricing, with the compulsory purchase and installation of GPS trackers in every vehicle, the resultant monthly pay-by-the-mile bills forcing motorists to think very carefully about the necessity of every trip. It was accompanied by the end of a 14 year-long freeze on fuel duty (effectively a carbon tax on fossil fuels) with the Chancellor of the Exchequer taking the bold step of increasing the duty by 5% that year with rising increases in successive years. This sparked the now regular specter of rolling roadblocks of haulage trucks on roads across Britain, the blockades of refineries and the stockpiling of groceries by the public.
The Prevention of Climate Change Act (2025) was also a landmark, with its introduction of individual carbon quotas, this effectively limiting petrol and diesel drivers to a few thousand miles of travel every year and rationing households to at most one short haul flight every three years. This also introduced the Agricultural Emissions Surcharge (aka the ‘Meat Tax’) and extended the restrictions imposed by road pricing to the banning of personal transportation for those living in designated urban areas. It also criminalized those who exceeded their carbon quotas, or made false statements in their Annual Carbon Returns to the Department of Climate Control. 2025 also saw the ban on the installation of gas-fired home boilers come into effect.
Then, in 2026, questioning the existence of the climate emergency was made a Hate Crime, effectively eradicating any further debate about climate change in Britain. It was also in that year that what remained of the British automotive industry was rescued (temporarily) thanks to nationalization, the sector having been brought to its knees by being forced to manufacture and sell only electric vehicles, vehicles that few could afford (thanks to the skyrocketing costs of batteries due to the skyrocketing price of their raw materials, such as cobalt and lithium, thanks to skyrocketing global demand).
The next landmark was the introduction in 2028 of the law preventing the sale of new and existing housing that failed to achieve a high energy performance rating. This made the majority of Britain’s housing stock impossible to sell (and impossible to mortgage) so creating the current housing crisis. With all coal-fired and gas-fired power plants having then been shut down and only one nuclear power plant still functioning 2028 was also the year that energy rationing and rolling blackouts had to be introduced owing to the energy crisis. Electricity supply companies started switching off (via ‘smart meters’) homes’ high usage electrical devices, such as electric vehicle chargers and central heating systems, when the grid was at a state of emergency (which it regularly was in anticyclonic periods over winter, when wind and sunshine were in short supply) – and this without compensation or warning. The crisis only intensified in 2029 with the collapse (and subsequent nationalization) of the three largest offshore wind farm companies, as the efficiency of their turbines fell rapidly thanks to rapid ageing in the demanding conditions of the North Sea, whilst at the same time their operational costs escalated. And of course that year ended with the great Battery Dumping Scandal when it transpired that because it was not economically viable to recycle most spent vehicle batteries they were simply being shipped overseas to form vast mountains of pollution, leaching explosive and toxic electrolyte into the surrounding soil.
By this point escalating food prices and falling real incomes had made over 24% of Britons dependent on Food Banks. Escalating electricity prices had also by then pushed over a third of British households into fuel poverty, with regular reports of older and poorer people dying of hypothermia in homes they could no longer afford to heat. Europe’s ‘Summer Without Wind’ of 2029 will also, of course, be remembered for the way the EU interconnectors to Britain, on which Britain depended for its electricity supply in low wind conditions, were simply suspended, without warning, in order to keep the lights on across Europe. The three day working week that was then implemented to help eke out energy supplies was a stark wake-up call about Britain’s energy insecurity.
The ban of sales of new petrol and diesel cars has now, in 2030, just started and it is becoming increasingly clear that Britain is going to start looking like a third world country, reminiscent of Cuba after the Revolution, with most drivers clearly intending to nurse their internal combustion engine powered cars along for decades.
Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of this story is that whilst the world as a whole has so far experienced an increase in surface temperatures (above pre-industrial levels) of 1.60C (so exceeding the Paris Climate Accord’s 1.50C threshold above which climate catastrophe was widely predicted) Britain’s climate has not actually warmed at all over the last decade; indeed it has not warmed since 2006. In fact had it not been for the great El Niño event of 2025 Britain’s climate would have cooled slightly since 2006. Furthermore (and to the despair of climate activists worldwide) despite the world exceeding the critical 1.50C threshold the only statistically significant climate impact that has been observed to date has been a 1 inch rise in globally-averaged sea levels, which hardly appears ‘catastrophic’. Approached for a comment, Greta Thunberg, the veteran climate activist (and recently announced Face of Lamcôme 2030), said, ‘This terrifying sea level rise is our final warning. This year’s COP35 conference is our best and last chance of avoiding catastrophe.’
Perhaps we should leave the final word to Rishi Sunak’s memoirs, in which he says, ’The idea that the UK Climate Change Committee had actually done no due diligence on the science underpinning the climate emergency idea simply never occurred to me – or any of us. I was simply stunned to find that they were taking it all on trust just like the rest of us. I was even more amazed when I found out that the 1.50C goal we had been told was necessary to prevent climate catastrophe had no real basis in science but had just been plucked out of thin air! Yet in our scientific illiteracy and gullibility we politicians all just hid behind the ‘we are following the science’ mantra. After all, we were told that 97% of climate scientists believed that we were experiencing a man-made climate change crisis and that we must urgently, radically decarbonize the world – but my own suspicion now is that 97% of climate scientists actually had serious doubts but were keeping quiet about them while continuing to milk the climate change research cash cow. It was as if we had all collectively agreed to believe in the Tooth Fairy… I suspect that history will not look back kindly on our appeasement of climate activists, our failure to challenge the alarmist views of a small group of highly politicized scientists at the IPCC and our failure to understand and communicate to the people of Britain the sacrifices that net zero would actually entail.’