Climate change emergency, but not just now.
3rd Jun 2019
I’ve mulled this one over and it’s fair to say that one of the UK’s major political parties stands accused of a gross display of hypocrisy. A few weeks ago, amid the street protests around climate change, it tabled a motion declaring that there was a Climate Change Emergency. Across the country, local councils have followed suit.
You’d think at this point they would be pooling every resource available to tackle this emergency. After all, that’s what happens in emergency situations. Dealing with the problem becomes the sole focus, and rightly so.
But no. Having made that bold declaration, in the same month they then announce the renationalisation of the energy networks and the creation of regional, municipal and even local energy networks. Now it’s a little uncertain how much they plan to borrow to compensate owners but we can assume it will be many tens of billions of pounds; nor do we know who will have the skills to run these local networks, I guess local parish councils are awash with skilled gas engineers just waiting for the chance to move away from organising litter picks to running a complex energy network safely.
But if climate change is the emergency, surely this is where the resource should be focussed. Instead of spending their first five years in office, an in-coming government would spend it legislating, fighting legal challenges over compensation and finally reorganising the deckchairs whilst the climate Titanic continues its emergency sinking.
It all smacks of politicians playing to the galleries whilst the real problems are simply ignored. As I write this blog, I’m on my way to see an MP who has expressed concern over fuel poverty levels. The Committee on Fuel Poverty have calculated that the issue could be eliminated by spending £15 billion. I’ll be asking this MP, what would he rather do, buy a gas network – or eliminate fuel poverty? He’ll say both, and I’ll then reply by asking if that extra borrowing would be better spent on schools, hospital, new infrastructure building? Or should it be spent decarbonising the UK because of the climate emergency he has supported.
Buying the gas networks simply because you can, is not enough justification in my opinion. There are more pressing matters for politicians to address; like people living in actual fuel poverty or those about to be displaced because of climate change for ownership to be an emergency issue.
Mike Foster, CEO
EUA's Chief Executive
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