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Planet Normal: Net zero ‘violates all the laws of engineering’ says leading Cambridge Professor

Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan discuss the practical issues of achieving net zero with Professor Michael Kelly of Cambridge University
Allison Pearson and Liam Halligan discuss the practical issues of achieving net zero with Professor Michael Kelly of Cambridge University

“Net zero is not going to happen because, although it might not violate the laws of physics, it certainly violates all the laws of engineering projects…And the people who say it is going to happen are simply kidding themselves.”


On the latest Planet Normal podcast, which you can listen to using the audio player above, columnists Liam Halligan and Allison Pearson are joined by Professor of Engineering at Cambridge University, Michael Kelly to discuss the realities of the UK achieving net zero by 2050.

When asked for an estimation on what it would cost to upgrade the UK electrical grid to incorporate more electric cars, Professor Kelly has some eye watering numbers.

“I’m quite comfortable that the expansion of the grid to cope with the electrification of heat and ground transport is about £1.4 trillion, which is about 30 HS2s a year… we only have 40 thousand electrical engineers in the country today, so we need another 20 thousand and another 20 thousand civil engineers. And they take about ten years to train”

Listen to Planet Normal, a weekly Telegraph podcast featuring news and views from beyond the bubble, using the audio player above or subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your preferred podcast app.

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