Climate advisors, naive or malign?
14th Dec 2020
Let’s start with the stark facts. I voted for the Climate Change Act in Parliament that set the world’s first carbon reduction target into law and also to set up the Climate Change Committee (CCC). I’ve seen first-hand the impact of climate change, both overseas and here at home. I want to see climate change targets met globally. So my comments come from a friend not foe of the CCC.
But sifting through the 1000-page report, I am minded to observe that at times what has been written is either naïve or worse, malign in its intent. Let’s take the comments reported from the publication of the 6th Carbon Budget, that homeowners will have to pay an average of £8000 to decarbonise their homes. This sort of money is simply not around, only the comfortably well-off would throw around such sums and to suggest it without the means by which it is to be paid, risks turning people away from achieving our Net Zero ambition. These were the sentiments of Lord Deben as he launched the report but simply saying the private sector will pay for it is not good enough. How is also important.
Ironically, the call to pay £8000 to decarbonise comes a day after the energy regulator, in their Final Determination, heralded the £10 a year saving to households. If £10 is such a huge sum to be saved each year, what is £8000? Is it naïve to wish away the costs or does this actually create a problem for those of us who want Net Zero?
How the public respond to being told to change their behaviour and pay more for the privilege of doing so, was never going to be easy. Arguably it shouldn’t come to this. Consumers should not have to spend an extra £8000 to retrofit their home to accommodate a change of heating technology (which is more expensive than they have at present) and that at best performs as well as they have now. In effect that’s what the CCC have said. Rather than say to industry, come back when you’ve got a solution that won’t cost this much, they are arguing in favour of a sub-optimal solution. Is it naïve thinking or something more malign?
Mike Foster, CEO