Slides from my Net Zero lecture

Please see below my lecture at All Souls College, Oxford, titled ‘The Long Road to Net Zero’:

Slide 1

Solutions to CO 2 output  have to be multilateral  not unilateral. With the exception of China, no country is big enough to make a difference to world output by its own actions without buy in from others.

Reducing  CO 2 substantially will only be possible if people want the new green products and services. It cannot be delivered by bans, subsidies and taxes.

Current net zero policies rely heavily on making the use of fossil fuels dearer running the danger of increasing inequalities and allowing the rich to buy themselves pardons for continuing use of fossil fuels.

Slide 2

From UN Report October 2021:


Total estimated Green House Gas emissions       2025    54.7 Gt    58% above 1990 level

2030    54.9Gt     58.7% above 1990 level    15.9% above 2010

UN says GHG emissions need to be 43% lower than 2010 by 2030 to hit 1.5 degree C increase, or 25% lower to hit 2 degrees.

This decade will see a further increase in the amount of CO2 generated by the world economy with an increase in the annual use of fossil fuels.

The main producers will be China, India and other emerging economies. The USA and the EU accounting for a quarter of current CO 2 will reduce their output a bit.

Slide 3- The Scale of the Problem


Slide 4 –  The main sources of CO2

China         30.65%  10,670,000m tonnes

USA           13.5%     4,700,000m tonnes

EU              9%          2,600,000m tonnes

Germany   2%          644m tonnes

Russia       4.5%       1,580,000m tonnes

UK              1%          329m tonnes

Slide 5

Sources of energy for China

Coal – 57%

Oil – 20%

Gas – 8%

Main fossil fuels total – 85%

Sources of energy for USA

Oil – 37%

Gas – 32%

Coal – 11%

Main fossil fuels total – 80%

Sources of energy for EU

Oil – 37%

Gas – 25%

Coal – 11%

Main fossil fuels total – 73%

Slide 6 – Gas – a transition fuel?

Natural gas versus coal

EU designation

Mixing hydrogen with natural gas

Blue and green hydrogen

Slide 7 – How do you power homes and factories when the wind does not blow or blows too hard?

The dangers of over reliance on wind energy – the UK has days when wind only supplies 2% electricity

Need for electricity storage

Pump storage systems

Green hydrogen as an energy store

Battery storage

Time shifting of power use

Slide 8 – Carbon accounting

Is it sensible to shift from a petrol to an electric car?

Total carbon generated by manufacture of new vehicle and destruction of old vehicle.

Over what time period do you amortise that excess carbon

What mileage would you need to do each year to make the vehicle switch worthwhile?

How do you guarantee that your battery is only recharged with renewable power?

Slide 9

Carbon accounting

Putting in a heat pump

CO2 produced in manufacture of equipment and installation

Nature of the electricity to fuel the heat pump system

Need for heating and immersion heating back up to secure sufficient temperature to water and air ?

Slide 10

Carbon accounting for wind energy

The carbon dioxide produced during fabrication and installation of the turbines and towers

The carbon dioxide generated for replacement turbines and parts

The carbon dioxide generated for the stand by power capacity needed

The carbon dioxide produced when stand by generation is used during low or high wind periods

Slide 11 – What would make the green products fly off the shelves?

Cars –  range, refuelling and recharging, cost, style

Heating systems – Average temperatures, cost,  degree of intrusion

Diets – taste and appearance of alternatives to meat/ social acceptability

Slide 12  

Technologies for the 2030s and 2040s

Green hydrogen for storage of renewable power

Green hydrogen to drive internal combustion engines

Nuclear power and small nuclear reactors

Nuclear fusion?

Large battery storage

More use of water power and pump storage

Hydrogen for home heating and industrial processes



  1. Mark B
    February 26, 2022

    Good morning.

    I am still waiting for a mainstream politician to commit heresy and declare that CO is a false religion. ie A latter day Martin Luther. Until that happens we will never get anywhere on this.

    Oh. That and the various parties donors and politicians family members no longer have skin the game.


    PS I hope the lecture went well.

    1. Everhopeful
      February 26, 2022

      Yes, I too hope it went well. I dare say it went very well!
      However, shouldn’t we now be seeing affordable, realistic alternatives on the market?
      Shouldn’t we all be getting solar panels and windmills?
      ( I looked into getting a small turbine in the garden but it is not at all easy, regulations etc.)

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        February 26, 2022

        It went very well and there were some good questions and interesting back and forth in the chat

        1. Everhopeful
          February 26, 2022

          Oh! Lucky you!!
          You were there!!

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      February 26, 2022

      The first sentence of the lecture, Sir John said he would not debate the merits of net zero as it was accepted policy for all parties and the EU and USA.

      This lecture was about mitigating the error (my words)

      1. Lifelogic
        February 27, 2022

        There are virtually no merits that is perfectly clear. Putin for one is illustrating this rather clearly.

      2. Lifelogic
        February 27, 2022

        “ Sir John said he would not debate the merits of net zero as it was accepted policy for all parties and the EU and USA.”

        John Major’s moronic entry to the ERM was also accepted by nearly all bureaucrats, political parties, the EU, treasury, government economic “experts”, the bank of England… this become another political and economic disaster that buried the Tories for 3+ terms. The start of the disaster that was Blair. Blair’s Labour 418 seats Major’s Tories just 165 seats.

        Blair’s disastrous wars (and the appallingly managed Biden withdrawal from Afghanistan) is perhaps rather to blame for emboldening Putin now. Yes another of the many disasters from Blair’s appalling period as PM.

    3. Guy Liardet
      February 27, 2022

      No mention of the fact that CO2 does not drive the climate.

      1. chrisRoald
        March 1, 2022

        … hitherto ghg has probably not been a primary ‘driver’ of climate
        ~ but in recent decades it has started to be 😮

  2. Everhopeful
    February 26, 2022

    No need for all this intellectualising!
    The simplest thing is to just shut everything down.
    And that would mean for everyone. Absolutely everyone.
    It was done 2019 onwards.
    So why not?
    The silent day dawns and voilà…
    We are all EQUAL 🤮 and cold and hungry and breathing …for a while….

  3. Everhopeful
    February 26, 2022

    I suppose that war and huge convoys of huge trucks would add to CO2 emissions?
    Better to avoid stoking/ramping those up then?

    Reply Good point. Net zero protesters should turn their attention to the Russian embassies

    1. Lifelogic
      February 27, 2022

      Net zero protesters should really learn and understand some real science and climate history and then they might abandon their childish religions.

  4. Andy
    February 26, 2022

    Why on Earth did you stand on a manifesto committing us to net zero by 2050 then Mr Redwood if you clearly want to just burn as much coal and gas as you can?

    If – since December 2019 – you have changed your mind on such a key issue you should stand down and give you constituents the chance in a by-election to choose whether or not to retain your services.

    You can’t promise one thing in a manifesto and then openly campaign for the opposite when you narrowly win.

    Reply. See my lecture. By 2050 I expect great new technologies will have replaced much fossil fuel. I made clear in the election for this Parliament I would campaign for lower taxes and affordable energy and regarded gas as a crucial part of our energy mix for the next five years. I did not promise reduced CO 2 this Parliament as clearly the world total is going to rise.

    1. Richard1
      February 26, 2022

      Interesting post. You have absolutely nothing to say in response to the substance of the lecture or facts contained in the slides. Very revealing.

    2. Donna
      February 26, 2022

      Andy -You missed out the bit about it all being the fault of old people who voted for Brexit. You really must keep your standards up.

    3. alan jutson
      February 26, 2022


      John produced his own election leaflet, in which he was very clear to outline his own views on many subjects and topics, and on which he regularly posts on this site.
      All those who received and read his leaflet would have automatically known his views before voting, thus no need for a by election, since his views have not changed.
      Yes I am a constituent and did receive his election leaflet, as indeed I did from most of the other candidates.

    4. Nig l
      February 26, 2022

      Switch subsidy from wind farms to individual households giving us a meaningful reduction (50%) in the cost of Solar/battery, it would be a one off reducing domestic demand on the Grid turning individual homes into mini power stations. It would also be a more effective use of the billions this government is losing through fraud/inefficiency.

      I would ‘Green’ up tomorrow but as I have found only this week high Capex far outweighs financial benefit.

      1. dixie
        February 26, 2022

        Such a large scale, distributed and unmanaged system would be very hard to integrate effectively with the grid. You’d need extensive domestic and/or community scale storage along with micro-grids to simplify the management and power trading/sharing.

  5. Sea_Warrior
    February 26, 2022

    Many here have argued that we should increase our oil and gas production to meet our own needs. Let me go further: we should aim to become a net-exporter, meeting some of the needs of our allies. I have been appalled to see just how much Russia has been raking in from supplying oil and gas to the West. The weapons being used today against innocent, gallant Ukraine have been paid for by us.

    1. dixie
      February 26, 2022

      We should look to our needs first and then … what allies?

  6. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Some suggestions on the slides from a viewers point of view (I’m a presenter myself) :

    * Improve the colours … the contrast between text and background make it hard to read
    * Use diagrams as well as raw numbers
    * Include the whole picture in diagrams first, then zoom into the part you want to highlight (eg include emissions from all sources first then zoom in to compare natural gas to shipped-in gas). Out of context numbers can be misleading.
    * Update the numbers – they seem to be out of date, although without references its hard to say
    * Include a summary slide
    * Include a list of references – not to dwell on when presenting, but for anyone to follow up after the talk ( like here ). Without references the talk is just opinion, could have come from a mate in the pub 😉

    Hope this helps

  7. Mike Wilson
    February 26, 2022

    Why on Earth did you stand on a manifesto committing us to net zero by 2050

    We are already globally uncompetitive – because of successive governments’ inability to run the economy without constant and massive increases in government debt, consumer debt, taxation, the cost of living and, of course, wages. Now we are supposed to make ourselves even more uncompetitive by being the first to net zero. And, of course, we are globally insignificant and live in a temperate country where we need energy to heat and light our homes and power our cars and, of course, to make things for ourselves.

  8. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    It would be worth mentioning the pollution impacts as well as the economic and climate impacts of our choices.

    This came up only this week – see – “An estimated 40,000 people a year die prematurely due to pollution, according to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health.”

  9. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Your point about China being a big emitter is well made.

    This was the objective of COP26, of course, to reach consensus around the world. Didn’t end as we all wanted of course. Many would say the UK hosted event was a failure. Governments have to work harder.

    But that doesn’t mean we do nothing to reduce our own emissions and grow our own green economy. We should be a leader here not wait for China.

  10. Julian Flood
    February 26, 2022

    Sir John,

    In the days of The Saint, Bulldog Drummond and Kickass Girl* when the hero got into an unmanageable situation, welded for example with tungsten chains to a rail with the express only thirty seconds away, the writer in desperation could always turn to the ultimate get-out: “with one bound they* was free”. While appreciating the science behind your presentation, I prefer the get-out. “And then when we looked deeper into the problem, we found other causes of warming which reduced the urgency of CO2 reduction.”

    Some parts of the world’s surface are warming at two or three times the average, Lakes Michigan, Superior, Tanganyika, The Black Sea. CO2 does not mysteriously warm some parts of the world faster than others, it is an equal opportunity climate changer. The real canary in the coalmine is the Sea of Marmara, three times the warming and choked with mucilage, otherwise known as sea snot. The surface is covered with surfactant and oil run-off from the towns and city on its shores, together with the lipids produced by sewage-fed oleaginous phytoplankton, particularly which are the cause of the mucilage. Oil/surfactant/lipid smoothed ocean and freshwater surfaces have lower albedo, reduced … lots of warming causes …. I have an article at The Conservative Woman entitled Cold Comfort which goes into a bit more detail.

    Any secondary causes of warming make CO2 control less urgent. If someone would do the research we might well end up in a ‘with one bound…’ situation. Further details available by request.

    *We are an equal opportunity poster,

  11. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Regarding the wind only supplies 2% of our energy.

    Good source of info here both live and historical. As I type this wind is generating 30.8% (8.82GW) and gas 27.0% (7.74GW).

    Looking at a longer averages we see wind increasing from 1.44GW in 2012 to 9.56GW in 2022.

    However you look at this wind is already a major contribution to UK energy and often (like right now) the biggest.

    For your slides I would suggest talking about averages over a period rather than one specific point in time ( which I can’t find evidence for BTW … we need references and context ).

    Reply No. My source was Gridwatch. What matters is giving back up power for the times when wind is just 2%

    1. Nottingham Lad Himself
      February 26, 2022

      A global grid is the answer.

      The sun never sets, nor is the wind still.

      It would need to work at about 1.5MV but is perfectly feasible.

  12. Donna
    February 26, 2022

    It looks like a well argued lecture Sir John. But there are three problems which you haven’t addressed:

    1. Eco Extremists like Extremist Rebellion and Insulate UK aren’t interested in facts (and the Government doesn’t have the will or cojones to stand up to them). The same applies to the Eco Loons who infest the Quangocracy and BBC.
    2. This and previous Governments have committed us to UN/WEF objectives; those objectives won’t change and we have no way of making them change
    3. Far too many in the Establishment are already making a great deal of money from the Climate Change scam and will obstruct any attempt to change policy

    The Government is going down the nudge, subsidise, tax and ban route because the alternatives they are promoting are neither viable nor affordable for the vast majority without these “interventions” to skew the market. They are going to get massive resistance when people really understand just how much this will cost them and how much their lifestyle will be reduced (whilst the Elite take their private jets to the next Climate Change Conference).

  13. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Your point about storage of electricity is well made.

    Although UK is a great physical position for wind ( ), wind will drop and we need storage. Worth calling out to some projects and research in this area :

    * Oxford battery storage –
    * Wind storage –,into%20a%20compressed%20air%20motor.
    * Gravity storage –

    Many UK houses, of course, already have house batteries to store solar ( which is actually very cost effective even without solar ).

    This is an area where the government can really help out.

  14. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Is it sensible to shift from petrol to electric car ? Absolutely, especially when the car is at the end of its life.

    A reference I used when researching for my first electric car is – contains a lot of detailed information about how “green” cars are.

    Also worth a view is

    Of course “green-ness” isn’t the only reason to get an electric car, buyers will also be considering :

    * Costs per mile ( with cheap overnight electricity I get about 1.5p per mile compared to around 20p for petrol )
    * Since electric cars are simpler, service costs are generally about half petrol
    * A lot less noise pollution
    * Very exciting acceleration
    * Range as you say … although UK driver averages only 20miles per day, you do need enough range to drive several hours before lunch / sleep. Many cars, like my 3-year old, have a real range of 250miles or so which is far as I would want to travel before a rest. In practice, with only a little planning, range becomes a bit of a non-issue.
    * Up-front costs as you say … although most lease cars these days of course. But given the cost savings above, electric cars can be cheaper over the slightly longer term ( especially when doing 10k+ miles a year ). In my case total cost of ownership over 3 years was about the same as petrol. Over 5 years cheaper than petrol.

    1. Old Salt
      February 26, 2022

      Car servicing- I was considering an EV, and tried one for a week or so, but decided against when I found the servicing cost was at least double an average petrol and every year rather than bi-annually for my petrol. So, no contest as far as I am concerned. Add the fact that after the battery will be degraded beyond economical use the car will be worth nowt. This will need even more energy to make a replacement not forgetting the personal finance.

      OK the relative cost per mile EV to petrol will change over time, cost per mile charging etc, and I suspect when EV’s are in the majority the advantage will diminish also via taxes.

      Accepted exciting tyre scrubbing acceleration and quieter but transferring the pollution elsewhere. Massive efficiency losses in electricity generation, transmission and the large heavy fire risk lithium battery etc. Presumably the greatest fire risk is when charging while garaged needing to plug direct to a wall socket which gets quite warm being warned not to use an extension lead.

  15. Christopher
    February 26, 2022

    A thought provoking lecture. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

  16. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Good point about carbon impact of wind turbines. As you say they arn’t carbon free.

    Some info here

    * Coal – 820 gCO2e/kWh
    * Natural gas – 490 gCO2e/kWh
    * Solar – 48 gCO2e/kWh
    * Offshore wind – 12 gCO2e/kWh

    So not carbon free, but vastly better than fossil fuels.

    Reply These figures do not include CVO 2 for the provision and generation of back up power!

    1. Julian Flood
      February 27, 2022

      Each renewable project should have a guaranteed minimum capacity factor before being given access to the Grid, something like 90%+. This would ensure that the current situation, where a solar blight development skims off the cream and leaves fossil fuels to pick up the dispatchability bill, would be impossible. As solar/wind is so much cheaper than traditional generation there will be no objections.



  17. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Regarding household heating, worth a mention of far infra-red and thermal mass.

    They look to be promising alternatives to heat pumps and easier to retro fit.

  18. Peter L
    February 26, 2022

    Aside from storage ( which needs government investment IMHO ), agree with your point that business and consumers will choose.

    But this is already happening. Our problem is really how the UK can best reap the rewards of this new green economy.

    For electric cars see . Even in our own town of Wokingham, you can’t go out without seeing several electric cars at least.

    Denmark ( ) will continue to supply most of our wind turbines. UK should be making many more of these for home consumption and export.

  19. Atlas
    February 26, 2022

    Thank you Sir John for sharing with us the slides. I agree with what you say, however there is one issue I have that goes to the foundation of the debate. It is this: Are these Climate predictions as reliable as sold to us? We have seen recently with the Covid pandemic how predictions made did not turn out in practice. This was no doubt due to there being ‘more variables involved in them than you shake a stick at’. The climate is equally or more so, complex.
    It took a group of your MP colleagues to probe and question the Covid predictions without blindly accepting them, to alter Government actions. I notice that there are a few MPs who have a scientific background and who challenge the Climate Wisdom (for example Graham Stringer, the MP for Blackley and Broughton). Is it possible to get a disinterested group to challenge the Climate ‘consensus’?

    reply There is much more support for seeking practical urgent changes to energy and industrial policy as I am doing.

  20. X-Tory
    February 26, 2022

    I was slightly perplexed, Sir John, why you did not put up India’s emissions figures, as they are the world’s third largest emitter of CO2, when you gave the figures for smaller (but significant) emitters like Russia and Germany.

    Also, on a more general point, I think you should have mentioned that the fixation on CO2 is not really ‘following the science’ since other gases – eg. methane and the fluorinated gases – are also major greenhouse gases.

  21. mongoose
    February 26, 2022

    Summary of presentation: “I propose that we throw out not just the baby and the bathwater but also the bath.”

  22. turboterrier
    February 26, 2022

    Sir John.
    There is a very interesting article on the Stop these Things website dated the 24th February titled Environment Wreckers (Dirtier Than Imagined) by Donn Dears. Power for the U S A which gives a totally different slant on looking at Renewables against Fossil Fuels.
    It is the amount of critical, complicated mineral requirements for the manufacture, ongoing maintenance, and disposal of all the different types of power generation at present being operated throughout the world

    Irrespective of where your contributors are placed regarding all the hype regarding the pros and cons of renewable I recommend that they read this article because the whole RE project stands on a foundation of sustainability of raw earth materials.

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