Net Zero Review Reaction: Excuses, Excuses
The Government has published its ‘Net Zero Review’. This had its genesis in the short, turbulent reign of Liz Truss as a way of kicking ‘Net Zero’ into the long grass, but, far from flanneling, Chris Skidmore, the Tory MP given the review job, has used it to push harder and faster for Net Zero. Skidmore has called for an end to new gas combi boilers within a decade, a big boost for solar on onshore wind and an end to oil and gas flaring by 2025.
While welcome, none of this is particularly radical. But it has triggered a predictable “would be nice, but too expensive… doesn’t work properly yet… EVs aren’t practical etc” from the right wing press.
First, we must remember the golden rule of radical change:
There is always an excuse to do nothing.
Take costs. Costs will not fall until demand goes up, creating economies of scale, strengthening supply chains and improving performance as competition starts to bite. Without a cut off date, developers will continue to build gas into buildings, locking us into high carbon for at least 15 years (the average lifespan of a gas boiler). The cut off date sends a signal to the market to start ramping up for the change today. If we followed the naysayers, we would never change anything.
The wider Sustainability lesson here is that people find it difficult to let go of the side of the pool and try to swim. They will try to rationalise this fear with a load of arguments which add up to ‘do nothing’. The best in Sustainability create ‘burning platforms’ to force people to jump into the water, such as Interface deleting profitable product lines which will never be Sustainable.
The Government’s future bans are essential burning platforms to get the market to change direction.