This leadership contest is putting net zero in the debate in a big way and is playing into the hands of Nigel Farage’s campaign for a referendum on net zero. I ask how do they come to these absurd arguments?
When MPs are asked about this they come back saying ‘we don’t want to bankrupt the country. In what world does investing in infrastructure bankrupt an economy. We’re talking about viable solutions which give good returns on investment. We don’t need to use public funds to pump into these solutions - they can attract finance.
Yes, heat pumps need subsidies on a domestic level but that’s because our market isn’t mature enough and because homeowners haven’t understood the cost savings. Equally energy efficiency measures are disruptive and costly, but they will also pay themselves back in 5-7 years and will add decent value to a property. I’ve been looking at ways to create financial solutions for these through mortgages and through the purchase, retrofit, and rental of properties, and it can be done without government subsidy - you just need the right policy. For instance - stamp duty linked to energy efficiency - it’s being thought about but not implemented.
And then let’s be clear about renewable energy – it’s cheaper than the rest of the energy portfolio. When you have the want-to-be PMs stating nuclear as a better solution, they clearly haven’t ever done their sums and have had a very effective nuclear lobbyist talk to them prior to their debate. The fact of the matter is the production costs of nuclear are 11p/kWhr and solar is 3p/kWhr, with onshore wind being 5p/kWhr and offshore being 8p/kWhr. So, if you’re going to tackle the energy price rise you would have to invest in renewables.
Then they all bang on about the cost of electric cars. Even their beloved oil company Shell stated that electric vehicles would cost the same at petrol vehicles by 2025. And EVs are the answer to balancing the electricity grid. We can pump our abundant renewable energy into our cars at night and use that in the house during the day or use it to get around. Can’t these MPs see the positive, unpolluted future that could be created? It seems to me they are seriously lacking imagination!
When all these things add to the capital value of our property and infrastructure, create millions of jobs, I really can’t see the bankruptcy argument. Conservatives are day in and day out pushing for the building of more houses, they want more roads, they want the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Arc. They are looking for development opportunities all the time. Why then are they turning their back on possibly the biggest development opportunity – the creation of a net zero economy?
And then there’s the China argument. How do they have the gall? Haven’t they seen China’s declaration to be net zero by 2041 (if not before) – haven’t they seen the policies China has implemented to become an economy that recognizes their interdependence on nature? Aren’t they just replicating populist arguments which are terrible founded?
If they then assume this is correct, surely, they’re getting themselves in deep trouble. If Britain’s not going to lead the transition it will just fall behind the curve. If we don’t accelerate the deployment of offshore wind and don’t get into the building and retrofitting low carbon properties, we’re going to miss out on our competitive advantage. Are we really going to become the Luddites that keep on persuading ourselves of untruths in order not to change or to have a bigger and better imagination?
I feel that’s what the conservatives are doing. They are lacking imagination as they follow the ability of business to change. They don’t see that they need to lead business, that change is uncomfortable, and that policies are needed for the transition to creating millions of jobs. They aren’t working in the interest of the people as they say, they are working in the interest of business. Business wants an unregulated platform to continue as usual, they want to build houses how they have done in the last 20 years, they want to keep pumping oil/gas into our economy as change is also uncomfortable for them.
When most people are concerned about climate change, shouldn’t they also be concerned about the Conservative attitude? We live in a democracy where politicians should respond to the will of people. People want support to live in a way that doesn’t affect their environment, they want to be able to buy/rent houses not attached to the gas grid, they wish to travel without causing climate change and they want encouragement to make other changes for the leadership within our country.
What do people feel when politicians don’t stand up for them? It makes them feel despair, they become helpless, and all those in power tread on them as they have done throughout history. They believe change isn’t possible, they eat bad food, smoke, don’t do exercise, watch pointless television, and feel no motivation to learn or do any important jobs. Whilst the rich feel their egos are massaged as everyone else is useless and they are the only ones able to do anything.
This lack of movement in the conservative party heralds not what we want as people but what they want. It allows them to keep power through the support of business, whilst the people are suppressed.
They need to realise that Net Zero brings hope and it will inspire people to do more, which will make us more productive and able. If they really work for the interest of people, they will accelerate their trajectory to net zero by 2040, just has China has. Let’s hope they can grow up and make it happen.