Once you understand the terrible cost of doing nothing, climate action is a bargain | Damian Carrington

Ruinous, eye-watering, crippling, stratospheric, massive. This is the price the UK will pay to beat the climate crisis. According to eco-fundamentalists, this is economic suicide.This is not only false, but it is also the complete opposite of reality. These delusions are rooted in those who have a history of climate change scepticism. They could be dismissed as the latest mutation of the denialists. They are actually having an actual-world effect, slowing down acceleration at precisely the moment it is required.How did we get to this point? Phillip Hammond, then chancellor of the UK, wrote a letter in 2019 to the prime minister, claiming that net zero would cost the UK more than 1tn. In July 2018, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), estimated that net zero would require a total investment of 1.4tn. These numbers are the source for the hot air.This is just one side of the balance. Critics conveniently ignore the other side of the balance sheet. It carries significant cost savings through more efficient vehicles and buildings and an economic boost from many thousands of jobs in green industries, which will be the growth story for the 21st Century. This is just the beginning.Net zero can be avoided. This is the way to avoid the suffering and terrible consequences that unrestrained global warming is causing the world. Reduced fossil fuel burning can also bring benefits like a reduction in air pollution which still kills around 40,000 people each year in the UK.Let's convert some of this into numbers. After adding fuel efficiency savings, the OBRs cost estimate drops by approximately 75% to 0.4% GDP per year. OBR stated that delaying climate action could result in doubled government costs.Chris Stark, head, Governments Advisors, Climate Change Committee estimates that getting to net zero by 2050 will result in a four-month delay to economic growth over the next 30 years, even if you don't consider the larger benefits for society. Stark states that we cannot afford to ignore the climate chaos alternative Stark says.Swiss Re, an insurance giant that specializes in risk, also agrees. Similar to previous analyses, it calculates that there will be a 10% drop in global GDP by 2050 if no further climate action is taken. Another study shows that breaking the 1.5C temperature limit set in the Paris Agreement will be far more expensive than keeping temperatures down. This is even though rich countries have to pay for actions in poorer countries. Climate action is, in essence, a bargain.Yet, despite all this, some people still make outrageous claims about ruinous costs. They claim that the UK's emissions make up only 1% of all the world's total. This is because the UK hosts the crucial Cop26 climate summit in Nov. Why should anyone take action to save the planet if they are not? Global Britain is now gone.The second reason behind the hysterical claims lies in inane free market ideology. Green technology has upfront costs. While electric cars are more expensive to purchase now, they are cheaper overall.This is the solution, which was proposed by both centre-right voices and the left. It involves ensuring that the less fortunate get the help they require, such as subsidies for electric vehicles or payments funded through carbon taxes on high-income individuals. These state redistributions are a scourge for those to the right. This may explain why no one seems to be able to offer any alternatives to those who complain about the high costs of net zero.Although they claim to care about struggling families, Sam Hall, director at the Conservative Environment Network, said that if we pursued the alternative approach to not mitigating the effects of climate change, injustices in society would only be worsened. Flood risk is disproportionately high in low-income households, as an example.Although the cries about crippling net zero costs are laughable, they are causing serious damage. This is not because they delay cuts in carbon emissions. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, continues to delay the implementation of urgently needed green policies such as the plan for phasing out gas boilers. This is just when the UK should be leading the charge ahead of Cop26.There is a reckoning. In the next few months, the Treasury will publish its cost review for the net zero transition. This is being redrafted following a first attempt that was too pessimistic due to its high projected costs. The UK could lead Cop26 to the success it so desperately needs if the final report accepts climate action's compelling logic as both essential and cost-effective. If it doesn't, those who are cynical and know the cost of everything will be victorious and the world will burn.