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UK’s ”low carbon” strategy relies too much on unproven technologies – what we need is energy conservation

Finally, we have a plan to reduce emissions, but much of it rests on
technology that is yet to be tested at scale. The PM confidently claimed
that we will be flying and driving everywhere, guilt-free, with
zero-emission technology.

This optimism – based on a techno-centric,
market-driven vision of the future low carbon society – is what
underlines the entire net zero strategy. Take for instance the reliance on
greenhouse gas removal technologies that remain untested at scale. Between
now and 2050, the government envisions removing and storing more carbon
than we currently emit from all our homes today.

It would of course be a
mistake to dismiss out of hand the possibilities that these technologies
offer, but to have them play such a central role in our strategy is a
gamble. To make it work would require careful planning. A similar reliance
is placed on hydrogen, which the strategy foresees us using a tremendous
amount of, though we barely have any production facilities in the UK today.
None of this is impossible, but climate change offers very little slack for
policymakers to try to fail, so getting it right the first time is
paramount.

The headline-grabbing announcement of a £5,000 subsidy for heat
pumps distracts us from the lack of investment in insulation and making our
homes warmer. At the New Economics Foundation, we estimate that the scale
of finance committed by the government in decarbonising our leaky housing
stock is less than a quarter of what is actually needed by 2025. That is
why we launched a campaign called the Great Homes Upgrade, calling on the
government to retrofit 19m homes by 2030. Without an investment of at least
2% of GDP annually, the strategy could well remain a non-starter, but the
chancellor has an opportunity to fix that in his upcoming budget and
spending review.

 Guardian 19th Oct 2021

 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/oct/19/government-net-zero-technology-emisssions

October 23, 2021 - Posted by | ENERGY, UK

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