Rishi Sunak has torn up the UK consensus on net zero emissions, leaving us to pick up the pieces.
The Prime Minister decisively abandoned his Number“The “steady progress” approach has brought chaos to the UK’s net-zero emissions plan.
So-called Number“The “new approach to net zero” previously announced by the Conservative Party conference includes delaying the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel cars by five years and delaying the phase-out of gas boilers. Plans to require landlords to comply with new energy efficiency regulations have also been shelved.On the bright side, Sunak increases heat pump grant from £5,000 to £7,500
Climate alarm bells ringing around the worldBut the Conservatives appear to have positioned themselves as the main obstacle to Britain delivering on its green promises. As the Communist Party orchestrates a culture war over net zero emissions, the obstacles are both practical (delays will make it harder to achieve the 2050 target) and social, as divisions among the public threaten to close the door on new policy ideas gate.
We know from our own focus group work with the public that cynicism is our worst enemy, and the more worried people are, the more isolated and withdrawn they become.The bill approved last week also sends another alarming message rosebank oil field.
But let’s be honest, the momentum to achieve net zero emissions is real. First, we need to communicate correctly.
We need to change what we consume and how we consume it, but these changes will bring a range of benefits and we need to talk about them. We all, including civil society, media and politics, have a responsibility to highlight these benefits.
We need to start putting carrots in forward stick.This year, every resident Austria and Switzerlandand most residents Canada will receive a Number‘Climate Bonus’, worth between £60 and £400. Spaniards enjoy most forms of public transport for free or at significant discounts, while German residents can travel on local buses or trains for just £1.50 a day. Across the world Within the scope, governments are implementing Number‘Climate Dividend”—before the toughest elements of decarbonizing the economy hit the headlines.
A common issue in our focus group work is that people think they need to see the benefits of net zero. But in the UK the climate policies we have are limited and often seen as painful with little impact.For example, the UK’s emissions trading scheme imposes higher taxes on carbon produced by various industries. Over £6 billionbut no effort is made (obviously) to convert these incomes back into social goods. Recent polls show Support for key climate-protecting lifestyle changes is high and will get even higher when governments put the right incentives in place.
When designing these incentives, it’s time to become universal. If there’s been a lesson from the past four years, it’s this.The over-targeting of pandemic and cost-of-living support burdened the state with a massive administrative workload, only to leave millions of people unlucky who missed vacationor Energy bill support.
Providing universal protection through basic public services such as water, energy, transport and health will go a long way in convincing communities that this is good for everyone.It is with this in mind that NEF promotes our National energy securitycreating a safety net for every home’s basic energy needs.
Policy design needs to have equity at its core. Many people will rightly ask why they should bear the cost of a new electric car or heat pump while private jets fill our skies and Shell makes record profits from fossil fuels. These factors matter, so it’s better if a policy is visibly fair.This is what the windfall profits tax does (although the policy has some Design flaws) but NEF proposes Frequent flyer tax Do better. It aims to combat the excesses of a few without harming ordinary families who want to holiday abroad. Therefore, overwhelmingly popular with the public.
In the end, and this is part economics and part communication, it’s time to go big or go home. We need a sense of common purpose and collective purpose that reminds us that when we work together and put our heart and soul into it, there is nothing we cannot achieve. In the United States, although the Inflation Lowering Act is imperfect, it sends a signal that President Biden is serious about addressing the climate crisis and benefiting ordinary people. Its scale means a large proportion of people will see some action in their area, driving purchase and understanding. Of course, it also requires resources, such as governments willing to borrow money to invest and raise taxes on those with the greatest wealth and environmental footprint.
It’s easy to hear the words of our Prime Minister and feel despair. But fatalism is our worst enemy. In our own way, we must confront fatalism, reject cynicism and double down on hope.