Griff Thomas, from renewables training provider GTEC, comments on Rishi Sunak’s watered-down net zero plan.
When the Prime Minister expressed a desire to roll-back carbon reduction targets I was alarmed. I stated that the UK needs to ‘hold its nerve when it comes to net zero’, and it still does.
Now the reality of his position has been communicated following last night’s press-conference, it seems that his proposals are bumps in the road, which, if navigated properly could still see Britain leading the way when it comes to combatting climate change.
I am saddened that we are here… historic failures in the green policy of both parties have led us to this point, and with better plans in place initially, we would not be in this position of backtracking. I do, however see that some of Sunak’s suggestions have been put forward to avoid further failure.
Green policy gone wrong creates distrust and serves only to damage the reputation of renewables and other sustainability initiatives, feeding into the hands of climate change deniers. Poorly executed policy also leads to disengaged voters, which may be more of the inspiration behind the Prime Minister’s current management of expectations…
Opportunity for change
We are at a crossroads as a country, we have a real opportunity to change the way we power and heat our homes and businesses. The technology is there and more than ever before, consumer support is there. Highlighting our relatively small contribution to climate change in percentage terms, as Sunak did last night, is not helpful, it makes people feel powerless, that there’s no point. We should strive for excellence and take a position of leading on climate change action.
We need open conversations and schemes that help smooth the way – the uplift the Boiler Upgrade Scheme funding was a welcome announcement – while protecting the most vulnerable in society who have been hit by rising fuel prices over recent years. Let’s not forget the ultimately, greening our grid will lead to reduced energy bills.
Right now, there are far simpler steps that will make the most inefficient of homes warmer and less costly. Insulation and draft proofing should be a priority – an area that GTEC is moving into to support our low carbon heating installation courses.
We need a pragmatic and proportionate approach to net zero that doesn’t abandon targets, but better considers and supports the people that these targets effect. Hopefully this is what our government is now focussed on; the important bigger picture that should have nothing to do with winning elections.