This week, Johnson announced his "Net Zero” climate strategy. Just as well, since COP26, the United Nations Climate Change conference which he’s hosting in Glasgow, is less than 2 weeks away...
Watching his speech, it was impossible to take it seriously. "Green is... good", he told everyone, looking as if he was about to laugh. And then he rattled off a long list of "policies to tackle climate change". Everything is in there, including mini(?) nuclear reactors, floating wind farms, tree-planting, and of course electric cars...
While maxi-nuclear reactors (but how long would it take for them to be commissioned?) are certainly the best way to cut carbon emissions, most of Johnson's proposals represent tiny drops in an already hugely over-polluted ocean.
Most implausible of all, is his plan for replacing "your trusty old combi"- combination gas boiler - with expensive and unwieldy heat pumps costing as much as £20,000. Oh, but there’d be a £5,000 government grant, for 90,000 of them, in the first instance... And for sure, Octopus energy, BG, et al., are delighted at the prospect of all these installation "orders", i.e., free cash for them, courtesy of government!
Kwasi Kwarteng added that "we" had to hurry up and start making pumps in Britain, before China cornered the market - promising the price will fall, once competition kicks in! As one commentator observed - it sounds a bit like the "Betamax" saga: installing expensive, soon-to-be-obsolete, noisy, electricity-reliant air pumps - with no hope of reducing carbon emissions to "net zero" by 2050 anyway, given that all the other needed measures are missing!
It's incredible really. With the working class facing the worst attacks on its living standards in 25 (or maybe 75!) years, workers are now meant to fork out for "heat pumps"? When the real issue today is gas and electricity bills! Everyone is having to pay an extra £139-£153 more, immediately! And when energy companies go bust, as 12 just did, the Big 6 charge the rest of us for the cost of taking over their customers, adding another £90+ to our bills! This, when 10,000 people died of hypothermia last winter because they couldn’t afford to turn on their heating!
Of course, it's not just energy bills: the CPI inflation measure may be "down" - by 0.1% - to 3.1%, but all prices are rising, including the cost of basic food, as businesses take greedy advantage of shortages.
So what to do about it? Bin workers and cleaners in Glasgow will be striking over their wages during the COP26 conference. Too right! The only way to reverse the cut in our living standards is to fight the bosses and their government for pay rises in line with price rises - collectively in the workplaces and in the streets - ASAP!