The Tories are doomed if they betray Thatcher and withdraw from net zero

Goldman Sachs, the voice of Big Money and the alma mater of Mr. Sunak, has just released his latest Carbonomics report on what the global energy system will look like in the next 20 years. It is a sobering read for those who refuse. The old order is being wiped out at breakneck speed and the next super billionaires are in green hydrogen, electrolysis, energy storage, smart meters, charging networks for electric vehicles, insulation and so on.

Goldman thinks total energy costs per capita in Europe and the UK will be 36 percent lower than the pre-Ukraine average by 2050. The International Monetary Fund and the International Energy Agency say energy bills as a share of GDP by mid-century are under fast green plans. It’s a profit, not a cost.

Personally, I support drilling in the North Sea because it is good for national security, good for trade balance and good for the climate – as well-regulated British gas has lower CO2 and methane emissions. But the Goldman report makes clear that demand for gas and oil will fall sharply from the mid-2020s. Be careful about jumping on the wrong cart.

Rishi Sunak understands “carbonomics”. He’s shown courage in sticking to (sort of) austerity measures – even when I disagree with the policy – so why resign yourself to obscurantist nonsense on net zero instead of proclaiming the economic potential of green technology?

He speaks of his “unshakable faith in the future” and of the moral obligation not to relinquish our debts to our children. He could usefully apply this principle to the planet. How much would he gain in national and global credibility if he directly confronted the closet deniers and vowed to defeat them?

The Burkean conservative code is a cross-generational duty, the Contract of the Eternal Society, “a partnership not only between those who live, but between those who live, those who are dead and those who are born”. It entails a moral obligation to pass on intact the world we have inherited.

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