This week, the Prime Minister announced changes to the way we achieve Net Zero. These changes will reduce the costs and burdens being imposed on people as we journey to Net Zero.
The Prime Minister is right to act. People should not be forced to bear the added costs of the UK becoming a ‘world leader’ in tackling climate change. We contribute 1% to global emissions. No matter how punitive the measures we take here, the impact on the climate will be slight.
The reaction to the Prime Minister’s common-sense approach suggests some see ‘leading the world’ to be more important than the reality of everyday life for British citizens. To hear some politicians, Lords of the Realm and even a failed US Presidential Candidate criticizing British people for daring to question the impact of net zero on day-to-day life is jarring. The critics sound out of touch. A heat pump can take up a day to warm a house, whereas a boiler can take a matter of hours. The infrastructure for EV charging is not as available as a petrol station and the average EV is more expensive, with a smaller range than an ordinary car. People would bear these burdens sooner and for no apparent benefit.
Technological change will in time make green technology cheaper and more efficient. But we are not there yet. Measures put in place without public consent risk alienating people as the true cost becomes apparent. Governments and international organisations have raced ahead of public opinion. The failure to take people with them will result in failing to achieve Net Zero if we don’t change tack.
Net Zero requires significant technological and behavioural change. It is important to be honest about the costs and the impact of this change on daily life. Whilst the UK has exceeded all its climate targets to date, nobody has explained the purpose of getting ahead of other comparable countries. While some countries continue to increase carbon emissions, and many are on a slower path, it is unreasonable to expect British people to suffer hardship just to get ahead of our neighbours.