The public want action, but not at any price

20th Jan 2020


It’s been interesting to see the early days of the Johnson Government respond to the day-to-day events that come their way. Flybe airline being just one. Watching the reactions was interesting.

As with most things around climate change people demand action but they don’t want to pay for it. They still want to fly, despite the carbon and don’t want to pay more for their flights.

It really isn’t a great surprise. That’s why so many of the grand schemes for decarbonisation may ultimately end up as a failure, because of the huge cost associated with them to tackle something the UK population don’t see as a priority. So we could try and educate them of the global impact of climate change; even its local effects, but for the majority I suspect that will not matter. We could try and scare them into action or force them to act, but I suspect politicians will not want to take that course.

That’s why the least costly, least disruptive, least intrusive approach will succeed where major upheaval won’t. That’s why I was taken by the recent coverage of the HyDeploy project at Keele, by regional BBC TV. With most BBC coverage, they tend to do what are called “Voxpops”, interviewing “real people” for their reactions. The BBC tend to balance out the responses – ‘some like it, some don’t’ approach.

But for the coverage of HyDeploy, where a 20 per cent hydrogen: 80 per cent methane mix is being tested, it was one-way traffic. There were only positive responses. People wanted to make a difference; their lives weren’t impacted so it was only good news. This is an important lesson for both the industry and government.

It is encouragement for industry to pursue hydrogen as the Clean Gas fuel of the future; allowing supply chains to be built up and the workforce to become accustomed to the change. For the government, it should be a relief. Consumer (and voter) acceptance to decarbonisation policies is essential. Without it, politicians lose their jobs. Seeing such positive feedback on TV to a project our industry has worked on is gratifying. It even answers the question you get at home, “what do you actually do all day?

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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