The Economic Case for Net Zero Is Zero

By Gordon Tomb

Implementing net zero will depress the global economy more than the atmospheric warming that the campaign against carbon dioxide emissions is supposed to prevent, according to a comparison of research by recognized experts. In other words, abandoning efforts to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuels likely would make virtually everybody richer.

The comparison is presented in a short 12min video titled “How human disruptions impact GDP” by Dr. Lars Schernikau, an energy economist, commodity trader, and author of “The Unpopular Truth… about Electricity and the Future of Energy.”

Dr. Schernikau reviews cost of “human” disruptions such as from Covid or the Ukraine-Russia war with estimates of implementing net zero, which were calculated by consultants McKinsey & Company and Wood Mackenzie, and projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for atmospheric warming’s effect on GDP. 

According to the data, the cost of implementing net zero would range from seven to 10 percent of GDP by 2050 while the cost of abandoning net zero would be but a fraction of that – 0.5 to four percent of GDP from a temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. The difference is measured in many trillions of dollars. Moreover, the higher cost of net zero is compounded by being incurred 50 years earlier than the predicted effect of warming.

When we step back and look at predictions for warming and GDP growth (gross domestic product), we must consider that the more wealth we create the better people can withstand severe weather or whatever climate impacts there might be,” says Dr. Schernikau.

Neither McKinsey nor Wood Mackenzie acknowledges in its report that it would be more harmful to the global economy to implement net zero than to allow the projected warming to occur. In advocating for a reduction of CO2 emissions, they simply accept the narrative of proponents.

Significant uncertainties are noted in all the analyses, leading one to think that Dr. David Wojick may be onto something when he writes that the “math of chaos” makes long-term  predictions of climate impossible.

A Nobel Prize-winning economist referenced by Dr. Schernikau also agrees that GDP growth would be greater without a net zero campaign and concludes that avoiding the predicted temperature rise is virtually impossible in any case. Writing in the American Economic Journal, Dr. William Nordhaus says that “there is virtually no chance that the rise in temperature will be less than the target 2°C even with immediate, universal, and ambitious climate change policies.”

So, in addition to the economic case for net zero being, well, zero, the chance of averting the supposed greenhouse warming is nil and predicting the climate 80 years from now is impossible. It gets even worse for the narrative of green new dealers when the benefits of fossil fuels and CO2’s fertilization effect are taken into account.

For example, fossil fuel-dependent technologies have increased agricultural yields directly or indirectly by at least 167 percent, according to a report by Dr. Indur Goklany, a 30-year veteran of the climate debate and an author of books on the subject. Consequently, the world sustains 10 times more people today than at the start of the Industrial Revolution – about 8 billion versus fewer than 800 million – while supporting more biomass.

For a bit of context, included in Dr. Schernikau ’s analysis is a report from British oil company BP, which lists the costs of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to be as much as six percent of global GDP by 2100. That is 50 percent more than the alleged effect of man-made global warming – if there is any such thing – and nearly the cost of eliminating carbon emissions.

At the very least, political leaders backing the net zero agenda should reconsider imposing on their citizens economic damages equivalent to a war for no good result.

This commentary was first published in PJ Media on March 6, 2023 and can be accessed here.

Gordon Tomb is a senior advisor with the CO2 Coalition, Arlington, Virginia; primary editor of “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know”; and a senior fellow with the Commonwealth Foundation, a free-market think tank. Gordon Tomb
Annville, PA

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March 11, 2023 2:01 pm

“The Economic Case for Net Zero Is Zero”
No! It’s less than Zero, it’s a very large negative.

Last edited 20 days ago by sskinner
Reply to  sskinner
March 11, 2023 8:15 pm

Net Zero is a total waste of time, energy and money as it will not affect climate because AGW
is now a discredited hypothesis, following 21st century climate observations.
Climate adaption is the only sensible economic course of action, as we wait and see if solar variation is going to cause global cooling over the next 25 years of the grand solar minima.

Sean Galbally
Reply to  bobclose
March 12, 2023 1:50 am

Agreed totally

Richard Greene
Reply to  bobclose
March 12, 2023 3:07 am

Nut Zero will affect the “climate” inside your home
We need electricity to control the “climate” inside our homes. There will be more blackouts in the future with more unreliables. meaning more bird and bat shredders and solar panel deserts There will be fewer days with 24 hours of electricity.

When there is no electricity, the “climate” INSIDE a home can get very cold or very hot. Our longest Michigan blackout was four days — fortunately in April when the weather was mild. We recently had a winter blackout and have had too many multiple-day summer blackouts. (Close relatives in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey had one blackout that lasted two weeks).

Here in Michigan a few weeks ago one million people had a blackout from an ice storm. A type of storm now much more common in our winters, which are warmer than they were in the 1970s and 1980s. We had another ice storm last week, but not that many blackouts.

We get a lot less snow in the winters and more rain than ever before. Thanks to the effect of global warming. Only three times shoveling snow off the driveway this winter. Only three times last winter. 45 years ago once a week shoveling would be typical during a winter. Our winter climate has warmed. Overall, that is good news.

We got lucky two weeks ago. Only 35 hours without electricity. Up to four days without electricity for quite a few other people. The climate was #@$%& cold in the house with no electricity. 55 degrees after 35 hours. Prior blackouts were usually in the summer, from high winds, when the climate inside the home changed to 90 degrees after a day. (we have lots of windows). During a 2003 blackout, we both left town for a few days.

Last edited 19 days ago by Richard Greene
Reply to  Richard Greene
March 12, 2023 11:30 am

Well consider yourself lucky with milder winters. Here in VT this winter is back to normal. We’ve already had a few 10″+ storms this season, another possible 20″ due in the day or so.It is just another cycle, it was like this 30 years ago as well. We will also lose power for several days with this next storm as it is a real Nor’easter with heavy wet springtime global warming… The sugar houses are going gangbusters right now.

Rud Istvan
March 11, 2023 2:10 pm

When you cannot get there from here, you won’t. No matter how hard you try. Net Zero is in that category of problems.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 11, 2023 7:59 pm

The cost of Nut Zero must include the costs of repairing degraded electric grids to bring reliability back above 99%

Reply to  Richard Greene
March 11, 2023 9:44 pm

The cost of Nut Zero must ALSO include the costs of vastly increasing the capacity of the electric grid. Unreliable wind and solar power will need to be transferred over long distances to take collected energy from where ever it might be available, to where it is in demand. … and the transmission line losses are ~ 15% – 20%.

Iain Reid
Reply to  JamesB_684
March 12, 2023 1:00 am


the simple way is to abandon all ideas of using renewable generation for elctrical grid power. It has little if anything to commend it.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Iain Reid
March 12, 2023 3:36 am


CAGW is nothing more than a 42 year long always wrong prediction of climate doom. But after 40+ years of climate propaganda, the CO2 boogeyman is real to many people.

In 1997 when I got interested in climate science, i could not believe 100-year climate predictions would scare many people. I was very wrong. Climate propaganda worked.

I now think of German propaganda in the 1930s that convinced many Germans that Jews among them were evil. How could any Germans believe that? I don’t know why they believed, but many did believe. Antisemitism did not start in Germany, but it was amplified a lot with just five years of propaganda. in the 1930s. The CO2 boogeyman had over40 years of propaganda.

Richard Greene
Reply to  JamesB_684
March 12, 2023 3:18 am

I DO NOT EXPECT !00% natural gas spinning reserve backup for all the bird and bat shredders and solar panel deserts in the long run. And batteries are much too expensive. There may be enough backup now, but the environuts seem to hate natural gas too. And forget about new nuclear and coal. power plants, which are not useful for backup. Environuts want to shut existing plants down, not build more.

Leftists ruin everything they touch.

They have ruined schools
But I haven’t been in school since 1977

They ruined the southern border
But Michigan is pretty far away

They ruined medical care with lockdowns and Covid vaccines But I didn’t take a Covid vaccine.

Now they are ruining electric grids. We can’t get away from that, except very few people who live off the grid. So Nut Zero has to be stopped.

The future grid problems will be bigger than just a waste of money.

Last edited 19 days ago by Richard Greene
March 11, 2023 2:14 pm

there is virtually no chance that the rise in temperature will be less than the target 2°C even with immediate, universal, and ambitious climate change policies.”

Really? There’s no chance that there might be no rise in temperature at all or even a reduction in temperature whether climate change policies are implemented or not?

Reply to  nailheadtom
March 11, 2023 4:11 pm

Northern Hemisphere has only really been warming for 500 years. It has another 9000 years of warming to go. Vast areas of the North Atlantic and Northern Pacific will hit the 30C limit before there is enough snow accumulated on land to reduce the average global temperature.

Nothing can change this. The peak SST in the NH occurs in August in response to peak sunlight in June due to the thermal lag in surface temperature. The solar intensity at 40N bottommed 2000 years ago and will top out in 8000 years:
-3.000  477.052951
   -2.000   475.842361
   -1.000   476.103311
    0.000   477.796614
    1.000   480.554459
    2.000   484.013383
    3.000   487.997959
    4.000   491.901370
    5.000   495.388644
    6.000   498.214278
    7.000   499.916367
    8.000   500.367403.

It is clear these are not trivial changes in solar intensity. They alter the climate over human lifetimes.

It has taken around 1500 years to reverse the cooling trend in the NH from when the solar intensity bottommed but we are now observing the warming trend. That trend has only just started. The thermal lag in the deep oceans is hundreds ti thousands of years.

The Southern Hemisphere is getting less sunlight but 90% of the SH is water surface so it is slower to respond than the NH. So far only Antarctica and the Southern Ocean exhibit a cooling trend.

Reply to  RickWill
March 11, 2023 5:58 pm

So your saying we’re coming into a warming period similar to the Holocene Climate Optimum?

Reply to  rah
March 11, 2023 6:48 pm

You need to go back 100,000 years to understand what is happening now. That is the last time the NH was essentially ice free and the NH started to warm up.

About 20,000 years ago, the NH started to get more sunlight but the land north of 40N had, on average, 400m of ice cover that was just beginning to cool the oceans as the glacier carving accelerated and massive ice shelves broke free and roamed the North Atlantic and North Pacific. That kept the ocean surface cool, reducing the water cycle, for about 10,000 years despite the solar intensity increasing as it is now. The peak in temperature around 6,000 years ago was almost 6,000 years after the peak sunlight. Melting the ice to lift ocean level 120m required a lot of heat that did not show up in surface temperature until most of the ice was gone.That was the climate optimum.

The situation is different now because there is very little ice to melt. The land readily warms up as the sun gets to it in spring. Only Greenland and Iceland are gaining permanent ice extent at the present time because they are surrounded by water.

NH surface is going to get a lot warmer before the snowfall overtakes the snow melt. There are only early signs. Snowfall will increase by 50% by 2250 from present level. That is when the permafrost will be progressing southward again.

What is being experienced now has occurred four times in the past 400,000 years in the same stage of the precession cycle and ocean level. The last four cycles of glaciation have persisted for at least 3 precession cycles. The glaciers continue to grow until calving becomes significant enough to cause the sea level to rise then ice shelves begin to collapse as the water level increases. Interglacials are the result of a tipping point when there is enough ice entering the ocean to d=reduce the water cycle.

Richard Greene
Reply to  RickWill
March 11, 2023 8:05 pm

SH is 80% water, not 90%

NH has been warming intermittently since the cold 1690s, about 325 years ago, not 500 years.

“Nothing can change this.” 
Your prediction has great confidence
Why do you think your long term prediction is correct when humans are unable to predict the long term climate trend? And you are human.

Reply to  Richard Greene
March 12, 2023 2:18 pm

My prediction is as certain as the sun rising every day. The same orbital mechanics that cause the sun to rise each day is gradually shifting the peak solar intensity northward.

Look at the change in peak solar intensity. at 40N. It will increase by 25W/m^2 over 9000 years. That results in ever rising surface temperature.

This is not speculation based on a fairy tale. It has happened 4 times under similar circumstances in the last 400,000 years.

Richard Greene
Reply to  nailheadtom
March 11, 2023 8:00 pm

Every long term climate prediction has been wrong for the past century, but this one is right?

Tom Halla
March 11, 2023 2:39 pm

Greens are proudly innumerate.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Tom Halla
March 11, 2023 4:40 pm

Nick Stokes being a prime example, as was Griff.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 11, 2023 8:06 pm

I wonder if Griff got a climate related job in the Bidet Cabinet of Incompetents?

March 11, 2023 2:40 pm

Nut Zero is real….there’s John Kerry….Al Gore….Joey Biden….et al

Reply to  antigtiff
March 11, 2023 3:44 pm

Could be alternatively interpreted as three nuts plus.

March 11, 2023 3:20 pm

The Uneconomics of Net Zero – Christopher Monckton

Well worth watching …

Last edited 20 days ago by 1saveenergy
March 11, 2023 3:41 pm

There are some fallacies in the above article.

Net Zero based on converting energy supply to W&S is IMPOSSIBLE globally. Some nations may achieve it but they will primarily rely on China for the supply of the components. China will continue to burn vast quantities of coal to make the energy extractors.

As woke as Chat GPT is, it even recognises that wind turbines cannot change the weather. In response to a question – Can wind turbines change the weather?

It is worth noting that the impact of wind turbines on weather is still an area of active research, and there is still much to learn about how wind turbines interact with the atmosphere. However, the current scientific consensus is that the effects of wind turbines on weather are generally small and localized.

If wind turbines cannot change the weather then why waste money on them?

Reply to  RickWill
March 11, 2023 4:31 pm

It’s telling that ChatGPT relies upon “scientific consensus.” It’s artificial sophistry.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  RickWill
March 11, 2023 7:43 pm

I think it misunderstood the question.

Richard Greene
Reply to  RickWill
March 11, 2023 8:08 pm

If you live downwind, wouldn’t bird and bat shredders reduce the wind energy that reaches your home?

Richard Greene
Reply to  Dave Andrews
March 12, 2023 11:00 am

I should have read all the comments before adding my own.
Yours was very good and answered my question many hours before I asked it.

March 11, 2023 4:26 pm

Net zero is a useless meaningless bumper sticker slogan and certainly no reason or excuse for government action of any kind.

Ben Vorlich
March 11, 2023 4:37 pm

Who’d have thought that taking energy from the wind reduces the energy available downwind?

Adnan Memija
RWE and DNV have agreed on a scope to conduct a study assessing the impact of far wakes from large offshore wind clusters.

RWE reviews its methodology and approaches to wind energy yield modeling on an ongoing basis, the company said. Based on this RWE said it has developed a good understanding of these long-distance cluster wake effects.

RWE models predict that large clusters of offshore wind farms could have far-reaching wind-shadowing effects, impacting wind yield of future offshore wind farms.

The preliminary model from RWE outlines that these can have an impact up to 200 kilometres or more and cause the energy yield in the wake areas to be reduced – in certain cases by over ten per cent, said the offshore wind developer.

Gary Pearse
March 11, 2023 5:23 pm

Nordhaus’s certainty that the temp will rise 2C by 2100 regardless of policies to prevent it – I take the point that he’s making, but it could be zero change or even cooler without doing anything at all with what we’ve seen over the past century.

Revisiting the late 1930s-early 1940s, during which all the state high temperature records still stand in the US, and in Canada, Greenland, Europe … and looking at the similarity of temperature patterns in S. Africa, Paraguay, Ecuador, Australia before NOAA got their hands on the data, the global highstand was most likely over 80yrs ago. Here is Capetown, S. Africa pre homogenization by NOAA. Look familiar?

comment image

Even the “Ice Age Cometh” cooling period after the 20th century high mirrors the the US record precisely. And what did NOAA do to Capetown? Here is their homogenized replacement!:

comment image

Richard Greene
March 11, 2023 7:55 pm

As the editor of the newsletter ECONOMIC LOGIC from 1977 to early 2020, I know US economists have a perfect track record for predicting recessions. US economists, as a group, have NEVER predicted a US recession. That’s one reason I completely ignore economists pontificating about global warming effects on real GDP.

We do need a reasonable cost estimate for Nut Zero, but that is impossible because there is no feasible detailed plan that could be accomplished by 2050. So any Nut Zero cost estimate is likely to have a huge margin of error, perhaps +/- 50% or more.

Nut Zero is not based on science or grid engineering — both subjects are irrelevant to the leftists in charge. Nut Zero is the panic reaction to a fake climate crisis being used to gain political power and control. The cost of Nut Zero is irrelevant to leftists in charge. Accomplishing Nut Zero is not important. Because a failing Nut Zero project will be spun as a NEW crisis as the old coming climate crisis is losing its ability to scare people. Double down on Nut Zero will be the new government power grab in a few years.

” the cost of abandoning net zero would be but a fraction of that – 0.5 to four percent of GDP from a temperature increase of 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100″:
Only a fool makes such a statement
I do not listen to videos by fools
There is no doubt the global climate will be warmer OR cooler, in 2100.
That is all we know today.

“abandoning efforts to eliminate the greenhouse gas emissions of fossil fuels likely would make virtually everybody richer”.
— That makes no sense. Abandoning Nut Zero will prevent people from wasting a lot of money on future climate related expenses. But there are already Nut Zero related efforts in progress that might have to be abandoned. Such as the huge investments in EV and battery engineering and production already in progress. Abandoning Nut Zero will not make a nation richer — it will bankrupt many alternative energy businesses.

I read and recommended 24 climate and energy articles today.
Honest Climate Science and Energy Blog: The best climate science and energy articles I read today, March 11, 2023

This one does not qualify.

CO2 enrichment BENEFITS our planet by moderating winter weather in colder nations, accelerating C3 plant growth and causing women to wear smaller bikinis at the beach … which is the subject of 97% of my climate research.

Real GDP will NOT go down in any decade from more CO2 in the atmosphere.
It never has before.

“projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for atmospheric warming’s effect on GDP”. 
— My BS detector exploded after that sentence
(I have a BS degree)

“For a bit of context, included in Dr. Schernikau ’s analysis is a report from British oil company BP, which lists the costs of the Russia-Ukraine conflict to be as much as six percent of global GDP by 2100″
— Complete nonsense

Last edited 20 days ago by Richard Greene
Coeur de Lion
March 11, 2023 11:27 pm

Today’s UAH temperature was first reached in 1988 so that’s 35 years of no warming. And CO2 has negligible effect on the climate. And there’s not a chance of stopping the steady rise since COP 1 in 1995. So wake up

Peta of Newark
March 12, 2023 12:57 am

Just to be the Devil’s Avocado for once: Maybe ‘someone’ knows something.

Maybe there isn’t as much coal oil and gas (left) under the ground as many folks think – or WANT to think.
Beware Magical Thinking – not least as magical thinking can tell you that you are not a magical thinker just as easily as it can convince you of anything. Even the GHGE

Just two examples:

  • China itself admits that they are going to run out of coal by year 2060 if not sooner
  • Saudi Arabia, floating on an ocean of the stuff, recently told the world that it’s not worth their time getting out of bed to drill-4-oil unless they sell at $85 minimum

Maybe this ‘someone’ is not the brightest spark there ever was but at least they see ‘A Problem’ upcoming, especially concerning stuff like oil – which has an inelastic price/demand curve not dissimilar to that of food

And they realise that something has to be done.

Using the really simplistic notion that because CO2 traps radiation the Earth must get hot, because civilation requires ‘energy’ and windmills & solar panels make energy, we must have windmills and solar panels.

Yes 100% agree – It is the logic and mental ability of a Zombie but, because most folks are now = Zombies because of their diet (nothing else to eat but sugar laced with Glyphosate) , what do you do?

Do you recall the joke:

  • A speeding car is pulled up and the driver asked why he was speeding.
  • His answer = To get to a gas station before he runs out of fuel

The Devil’s Avocado says that that is what’s going on here

Richard Greene
Reply to  Peta of Newark
March 12, 2023 3:43 am

“Just to be the Devil’s Avocado for once”

That was very funny

However, the rest of your comment
is a Fig Newton of your imagination.

Eric Vieira
March 12, 2023 1:40 am

I’ve also heard recently, even if CO2 was a problem (which it isn’t) that about half of anthropogenic CO2 is taken up by the biosphere. So net 50% should be enough, even for the most extreme of alarmists. Net zero is absolute nonsense, not realizable, not necessary, period.

Richard Greene
Reply to  Eric Vieira
March 12, 2023 3:48 am

“So net 50% should be enough”

That’s what Nut Zero means: CO2 emissions low enough to prevent the atmospheric CO2 level from increasing … which would have made the temperature slightly warmer, while accelerating C3 plant growth (85% of all plants). But we can’t have that good news from more CO2. Because leftists forbid more CO2 enrichment, and they are “experts” for every subject in the universe. Just ask them.

Sean Galbally
March 12, 2023 1:49 am

The scientific case for Net Zero is also zero. If this were recognised by the power elites all this nonsense would stop.

March 13, 2023 3:11 am

Nut-Zero — It-Will-Never-Happen.

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