NET ZERO - a statement by Steve Baker, M.P. for Wycombe
Gas is the cheapest way to heat a home, and its widespread use has improved the wellbeing of millions of people in recent decades. As so often, progress has turned a luxury into a necessity many of us take for granted.
But now ministers plan to end the comfortable lifestyles we have enjoyed for generations.
Downing Street has backed down on the idea of fines, but it still appears the Government will implement other penalties to force people to change how they heat their homes.
The process is going to hit everyone but let us be under no illusion, the poorest will pay the highest price for these carbon neutral fantasies.
The most likely alternative to a gas boiler is an electric heat pump. They can easily set you back more than £10,000 to install.
If you live in an older property, you might well have to spend many thousands more on fitting enough insulation to make a heat pump viable.
You may even need to change floor levels to make it all work.
And once you have spent all that money, your house may well be colder than before. Heating is just one aspect of the Government’s plans to reduce our carbon emissions to Net Zero.
This radical programme is expected to affect almost every aspect of life in the UK. Many of the changes will be wildly expensive.
Up until now, the costs have been largely hidden, or at least bearable, but that is not going to be the case for much longer.
The furore over heat pumps makes that clear — the costs of Net Zero are rising quickly.
Take the electricity system, for example. We have been pouring subsidies into unreliable wind farms for nearly 20 years now.
Every UK household is now paying approximately £400 per year to renewables companies, either through surcharges on bills or through higher prices in the shops.
Some big wind farms will soon be receiving half a billion pounds in subsidy each and every year.
As a result, electricity prices have nearly doubled in the past 20 years.
We can expect those prices to more than double again in coming decades, hitting you and your family hard.
On top of that, the Government wants us all to switch to electric cars, which usually cost £10,000 more than their petrol equivalents but are much less convenient.
For those without off-street parking, personal transport may become a thing of the past.
Experts at KPMG accountants predict that private car ownership could in future fall to less than half the current level.
It won’t be the rich going without the convenience and pleasure of their own transport for their own families.
And all this spending won’t mean you can live your life in comfort.
The dirty secret of Net Zero is that there will be no way to generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing.
Ministers like to talk about grid-scale battery storage, but engineers know that idea is nonsense — batteries are good for supplying power to the grid for a few hours, rather than days or weeks.
Meanwhile, hydrogen for fuel cells is wildly expensive and it may well prove too dangerous to use in practice.
Without any means of storing electricity, a drop in the wind could be catastrophic.
There will be no way to generate electricity when the wind isn’t blowing.
If we experience a three-week lull, like the one we saw during April this year, it will mean spending cold winter evenings at home wrapped in a blanket, waiting for the wind to start blowing again.
The days of inexpensive, reliable power on demand will end.
The elite policymakers who govern our lives agree we should reduce our carbon emissions. But they have not been up front about the cost for working families. You, the voter, have not had a choice.
We Conservatives spent years in the wilderness after we lost touch with our voters.
If Boris Johnson forces the public into buying expensive, ineffective heating, if he makes us give up our cars, we will reap what we have sown.
The cost of Net Zero could deliver a political crisis greater than the Poll Tax.
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