My colleague Nick Hubble has a knack for sparking reader engagement, as was demonstrated most recently by his pointing out that the government’s net zero plans, if implemented, are likely to have a severe impact on our lifestyles, including basic freedoms.

The problem, you see, is that the technologies being touted as the means to get to net zero require such vast amounts of metals and other resources that we’re going to deplete the earth’s crust of them before we arrive. As we dig ourselves ever deeper into the hole, we’ll eventually discover we’re staring into an abyss of impossible promises.

Never willing to admit a mistake, governments will then deflect the blame on to… us.

As Nick puts it:

Faced with the inability to reach net zero by producing the energy we need in a net-zero way, governments will be forced to cut demand by curtailing your life.

Nick’s right. The government is making our Procrustean bed. Any part of our lives that doesn’t fit into the net zero camp bed will simply be cut off until it does. Our “extravagant” lifestyles of eating meat, driving across town to visit Granny on Sundays, and attending pointless events such as football matches and music festivals will become things of the past.

We might complain about this, of course, but in the government’s narrative, we shouldn’t, because after all, it is our fault.

Fortune & Freedom readers have had quite a bit to say about this. Nick has already featured some feedback. Today I’d like to highlight some more.

One reader cites and updates the privations of generations past:

My parents and grandparents educated me enough about life before WW2 to clearly see the parallels today:

  • Turning everybody’s home into local mini camps, CCTV having become the watchtowers…
  • Rationing of anything that fits the bill coupled with spending controls via your favourite currency (CBDC)…
  • Reduction of fraternising and socialising activities other than virtual…
  • EVs definitely curtail one’s operating range and freedom, I have got one!

Hmmm… EVs curtail operating range. Electric hobs make for slower cooking times. Homes lacking fireplaces or wood stoves have no recourse to heat whenever the grid goes down… Do you see a pattern here?

Another reader makes specific reference to recent, local developments in Oxford:

Where are we headed with Net Zero? ‘Nowhere sensible’…

I live in Oxford and will soon be one of the many victims of the City council’s silly, unpopular, unwanted, impractical, counter-productive thus soon to be implemented 15 minute city plan that will mean we  can no longer e.g. visit a family member in another part of Oxford by taking our car from a to b, we will have to drive via c and d on the ring road maybe turning a 2 mile journey into a 10 mile one via traffic-jammed, authorised access routes.

This is another ill-considered idea that will destroy the lives of those in the real world in the name of authoritarian ‘we know best’ idealists.

The scheme’s predecessor, the current ‘experimental’ LTNs have already caused major traffic gridlocks on a daily basis to the detriment of businesses in the town, the 6-zone Armageddon will finish life for all except maybe the itinerant cycling students fortunate enough to reside in the city for 25 weeks a year.

But would you believe that Oxford might actually be falling behind in the net zero race? Perennial rival Cambridge has drawn up a comprehensive plan targeting, among other city facilities, swimming pools and crematoriums.

(I’m not quite sure how a net zero crematorium would work. That might require some experimentation. Any volunteers?)

How appropriate that ivory tower net-zero ideas would be implemented first in their very birthplace, the cities hosting the UK’s most venerable institutions of higher education.

Will the likely disastrous results be enough to get the respective city councils to back down? Or will they double down instead, blaming their residents for various forms of noncompliance?

Call me a cynic, but I would expect the latter.

You see, to politicians, climate change really is an existential threat. C02 emissions may or may not end up destroying the planet. But if the citizens are unwilling to go along with their net zero plans, it undermines their power. They might find they are indeed constrained by that quaint form of government known as “democracy”.

There is no way to know how it will pan out. As with military operations generally, our government’s net zero plans won’t survive contact with the enemy.

Well that’s fine if you ask me, as the “enemy” this time round just happens to be… us.

John Butler
Investment Director, Southbank Investment Research

PS Whether the net zero nonsense continues or not, there are ways to profit from energy market disruption. Tune into my upcoming chat with our alternative energy expert James Allen to learn more.