The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published report, setting out its proposals for achieving ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions that gas boilers should be banned from 2025 to combat climate change, and achieve net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. It said that said that no new fossil fuel boilers should be sold from 2025, unless they can safely burn hydrogen.
On Tuesday morning ministers were reported (by Bloomberg) to be proposing a total ban on gas boilers in existing homes by 2035, and considering fining homeowners if they failed to meet the deadline. They were said to be proposing this in a new heat and buildings strategy to be published in June. By Tuesday afternoon, however, the threaten to fine people had vanished into thin air. Perhaps the government had remembered that houses tend to contain voters.
The psychology here is astonishing. Just as bad is the proposal to ban the sale of houses that do not meet increasingly high green standards.
The government is now legally-committed to a zero carbon policy and it is only slowly coming to realise that it cannot be met without significant cost – and with technology which doesn't yet exist. A lot of people will be needing to find between £8000 and £10,000 for a heat pump (and probably new radiators), and more to insulate homes with no cavity walls (there are around eight million of these in the UK). This ETI article argues for cost-effective, high performing retrofits that will enable progress towards energy, poverty, health and housing goals. Amen to that.
The government (nor any other political party) has no strategy to explain and argue for its policies about all this to a largely unaware public which is hardly likely to be best pleased when it eventually does find out (and also fully wakes up to the implications of transport policy). What a pity, then, that the DfE continues to refuse to require schools to engage with these issues with their students. I am dead against children being used by government as propagandists in the home, but wouldn't it be useful for government to have informed and interested people in every community who can respond to questions and provide information. And at net-zero cost. Come on, DfE; you know it makes sense.