They say a picture is worth a thousand words

15th Apr 2019


I’m taking the unusual step of adding a photograph to my weekly blog this week, now let me explain why and what’s the context.

I took this in 2008 at the first refugee camp I had ever visited. It’s in Nepal and shows “food” (World Food Programme aid paid for by the UK) being cooked on an open fire. The refugees had not fled war or terrorism but had lost their homes when a glacial lake in the Himalayas melted and burst poorly maintained river banks – yes, a result of climate change. You never forget your first refugee camp visit. I could show you photographs from the Char’s Livelihood Programme in Bangladesh, where some of the poorest people on earth somehow forge a living in low-lying, flood-prone parts of a country at risk from flooding as well as rising sea levels and increased salination and many, many more examples. But I won’t.

So I will take no lectures from anyone on the need for the UK to decarbonise. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with every option ever discussed; nor does it mean that I have to agree with the “orthodoxy”. After all, it that were the case we would be stuck with the out-dated, ill-thought and now irrelevant “all-electric heat” policy adopted by the Coalition Government in 2011. 

So let’s put on the record where I think heat policy should go. Firstly, let’s accept that all technological options will play a part – not all electric and not all gas/oil. And that the gas we will use won’t be “natural gas” as now, but in all probability will be a mix of biogas, hydrogen and blends of gases. But the electricity we use can’t be the same mix as now either. It needs to decarbonise and that will be trickier with coal on the way out.  

If you blindly believe that the future heat demands for the UK can be met solely by electricity or that we can ignore climate science and continue using natural gas as now, frankly you are part of the problem and not the solution.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO

Mike Foster

EUA's Chief Executive


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