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Lord Frost warns: Hurtling towards net zero at any cost will be a mistake - The Express - 19.05.23

Lord Frost warns against "rushing at electrification of cars too fast" and the intense pressure to achieve net zero. Kemi Badenoch addresses automotive industry trade concerns says Tim Newark.


With 800,000 British car-making jobs on the line because we’re not making enough batteries for electric vehicles, leading motor manufacturers are demanding renegotiated trade rules with the EU to give us more time to catch up.


Lord Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator for Brexit from 2019 to 2021, is clear where the fault is.


“The underlying problem is that we’re rushing at electrification of cars far too fast for the technologies we’ve got,” he insists.


“What it shows is that the expectation we had in the trade agreement when we negotiated it was that things would have moved by 2024, and that is not true.”


Vauxhall’s parent company, Stellantis, told MPs earlier this week that it would be unable to keep a commitment to make electric vehicles in the UK without changes to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement with the EU.


From next year, under the agreement, 45 percent of an electric vehicle’s parts should originate in the UK or EU to qualify for tariff-free trade between the two.


Without meeting the requirements, cars made in the UK would face a 10 percent tariff if sold in the EU – ­rendering them uncompetitive. Electric car batteries are mainly sourced from Asia and can be up to 50 percent of a car’s value.


But it’s not only car manufacturing, Lord Frost believes, but that is also under intense pressure from the rush to achieve net zero – a government commitment to ensure the UK reduces its greenhouse gas emissions by 100 percent from 1990 levels by 2050.


In an exclusive interview with the Daily Express, Lord Frost insists: “Everyone can see we’re not ready. The [electricity supply] grid is not ready, the costs are too high; all we’re doing is needlessly causing problems for our own industry.”


Not only that but the poorest are hit hardest by the transformation.


“We are told constantly that net zero 2050 is not only something that must be done, but it’s also something that’s going to be good for you and is going to increase economic growth and everyone’s going to be better off,” he says.


“I don’t think that is true. We are replacing a lot of perfectly good ways of generating electricity with gas and nuclear for bad ways of generating it with wind and solar, so why would you not expect costs to go up?


“If we’re requiring poor technologies like heat pumps to be installed then that’s going to hit the poorest worst. If it’s good technology, people will install it anyway.


“If it’s bad and expensive technology, the Government has got to make people do it.”


Once dubbed the “greatest Frost since the Great Frost of 1709” by Boris Johnson, the 58-year-old is considered by many Tories to be a leading voice of common sense and even a potential future party leader.


A ­former diplomat, civil servant and Minister for State, he will be giving the annual lecture next week at the Global Warming Policy Foundation.


He strongly believes the Government’s policy of net zero going too fast will cause considerable damage to the UK economy, making us all poorer, especially the less well-off.


Lord Frost does not dispute that climate change is happening. Nor is he repudiating the need for green policies to combat global warming.



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Lord Frost warns - Hurtling towards net zero at any cost will be a mistake - by Tim Newark
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Lord Frost says we’re rushing at electrification of cars (Image: Getty)





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