Prof. Michael Kelly: Energy Policy Needs ‘Herds Of Unicorns’

  • Date: 12/11/19
  • The Global Warming Policy Foundation

Utopian thinking is putting the economy at risk says Cambridge professor.

The UK’s decision to embark on a wholesale decarbonisation of the economy is beset by superficial thinking that ignores engineering reality. 

That’s according to Professor Michael Kelly, emeritus professor of engineering at the University of Cambridge. At the 2019 Annual GWPF Lecture, Professor Kelly told an audience in London that the government’s 2050 net zero target is unachievable without major social disruption.

“For the world to reverse two centuries of industrial development in a few decades would require the efforts of herds of unicorns”, he jokes. “It simply isn’t going to happen, as much as the zealots in Parliament and on the streets shout about it”.

Professor Kelly, a former chief scientist at the Department of Communities and Local Government, also hit out at the Committee on Climate Change’s claim that decarbonisation can be achieved cheaply.

“Their estimates are pie in the sky”, he says. “We have real-world data that shows that the cost would run to trillions of pounds. If politicians listen to them, we are in trouble”. 

Prof Michael Kelly: Energy Utopias and Engineering Reality (pdf)

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