It couldn’t happen here, could it?
11th Jan 2021
Firstly, Happy New Year. Let’s hope by the time I write that phrase again Covid will be just a horrible nightmare that we are all glad to see behind us. But the start of 2021 certainly hasn’t been dull.
Lockdown 3 here in the UK and what amounted to an armed insurrection in the United States. There will be some who express the relief that those scenes could never happen here. That might be true but the great British public arguably do like to express their “anti-establishment” views, most recently in the Brexit referendum. So they can stick the proverbial two-fingers up when it suits.
Most analysts in the USA point out the gulf that has appeared between those who are on the sharp end of change and those who are indifferent to their plight. It doesn’t excuse last week’s scenes but explains how they came about. And nothing fuels such sentiment as rules applying to others but not to the “elite” or what are considered to be absurd rulings that are forced onto people. What troubled me over the last few weeks of 2020, were classic examples of this in the decarbonisation debate.
Firstly, we had the CCC’s 6th Carbon Budget and media headlines around their recommendation that we need to eat less red meat. The unhelpful headlines suggested we could eat insects instead to get our daily protein intake. This is a classic example of an absurd recommendation. It’s the equivalent of the EU banning bendy bananas. (Did you notice the straight ones now on sale? No neither have I).
Then there’s the evidence given to a Parliamentary Select Committee from a leading energy executive, advocating the installation of heat pumps. They confessed that whilst renovating their home they looked at installing a heat pump, but decided against it. On the record they said they may have installed one if there was a regulatory nudge, or it was an easier process, or it was a good consumer offer but regrettably went with the gas option. Obviously others should have heat pumps, despite the drawbacks, but not them.
If we are to convince the wider public of the need to decarbonise, the absurd and the hypocritical are best avoided, otherwise expect the two-fingered salute.
Mike Foster, CEO