Britain will be plunged into an even worse energy crisis in a year’s time without an immediate plan to improve leaky homes and dramatically reduce demand for gas, ministers have been warned.
The UK ranks among the worst in Europe for the energy efficiency of its homes, according to new research outlining an urgent need to reduce the amount of heat being wasted. Experts are warning that while Liz Truss has bought the government time with her £100bn-plus package to cap energy bills, similarly expensive and unsustainable schemes will be needed unless substantial plans are introduced to improve homes and reduce demand.
Experts believe a serious energy-efficiency programme could have a real impact within a year. The institute pointed to Germany as a success story, where grants, low-interest loans, tax rebates and free expert advice have all been used, resulting in high take-up figures.
Bought my coach ticket X
Enough is enough. When did we decide to just sit there and be OK with people in the fifth richest country in the world having to choose between food and heating? When did that happen? When did we decide that we are just going to sit there and let civilisation as we know it to collapse because the government is refusing to cut carbon emissions in line with the cries of the world’s most renowned climate scientists. When did that happen?
People have woken up to the fact that there is only one crisis – the crisis of an elite which cares no more about old people dying of the cold than it does about young people dying of hunger before they get to middle age. This elite refuses to see the misery it is already inflicting on the Global South. The global majority already faces looting, exploitation and climate breakdown. Know one thing for sure – this is murder, plain and simple. Today’s fossil capitalism profits from yesterday’s barbarous imperialism. And they will carry on unless we stop them. No one is coming to save us – not the politicians, not the NGOs, not the entrepreneurs – the only way things will change now is through People Power. It has been the case throughout our history, and so it is today.
We All Want to Just Stop Oil is bringing together the wider environmental and progressive labour movements, faith communities, charities, people from social institutions and famous people – along with thousands of ordinary people who have never before been involved in anything like this – to create mass civil resistance. This is how we will overcome entrenched power – ongoing organised peaceful civil disobedience – slow marches, sit downs, blockades, etc., week after week. They may arrest people but we will not be afraid. We will be courageous, and our contagious courage will spread. They may imprison people but that will make us even more determined to show our solidarity. Their time is up. Our time is now.
On 23 July we are gathering to connect and build. Then, thousands of us will mobilise around the country to prepare for an Autumn of popular mass action – like Extinction Rebellion did in April 2019, forcing the government to respond by occupying central London. But this time involving many more people from a wide coalition of groups, building a deeper, more powerful movement.
The government is failing to enact the policies needed to reach the UK’s net zero targets, its statutory advisers have said, in a damning progress report to parliament.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) voiced fears that ministers may renege on the legally binding commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, noting “major policy failures” and “scant evidence of delivery”.
Lord Deben, the chair of the committee and a former Conservative environment secretary, said the government had set strong targets on cutting emissions but policy to achieve them was lacking. “The government has willed the ends, but not the means,” he said. “This report showed that present plans will not fulfil the commitments [to net zero].”
He said net zero policies were also the best way to reduce the soaring cost of living. Average household bills would be about £125 lower today if previous plans on green energy and energy efficiency had been followed through. “If you want to deal with the cost of living crisis, this is exactly what you need to do,” he said.
The greatest failure was the insulation policy. Britain’s homes are the draughtiest in western Europe, heating costs are crippling household budgets, and heating is one of the biggest single sources of carbon emissions, but the government has no plans to help most people insulate their homes.
Energy efficient homes could be an easy win, but we’re ignoring it
There are currently no credible plans to help the majority of households to improve their energy efficiency, the progress report from the Committee on Climate Change concludes: a gaping policy hole that is costing the UK dear, not just in climate terms but in unnecessarily high energy bills for our leaky homes. Insulating buildings would be the quickest and most effective way to counter soaring gas prices, but has been largely ignored by the government after the botched “green homes grant” was scrapped last year. Even our new homes are not efficient: at least 1.5m homes have been built in recent years that will require expensive retrofitting. “It’s a complete tale of woe,” said Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change.
A selection of climate protest news articles. Insulate Britain are acting on their policy that UK courts are regarded as a ‘site of civil resistance’
Three members of Insulate Britain have disrupted a magistrates court trial, gluing their hands to court furniture and paying tribute to the environmental activist who died after setting himself on fire outside the US supreme court.
Dr Diana Warner, a retired GP from Bristol, had been due to face trial at Stratford magistrates court on a charge of causing a public nuisance by obstructing junction 14 of the M25 on 27 September last year.
But when she entered the dock, fellow Insulate Britain members Liam Norton and Ana Heyatawin followed her into the court, began filming and broadcasting with their phones, and glued themselves to the furniture.
A number of activists have been arrested after breaching an injunction outside an oil terminal in Tamworth.
Members of the Just Stop Oil group blocked access to the Kingsbury Oil Terminal from 07:30 BST on Tuesday.
A new High Court injunction in the area grants police “enhanced powers to prevent and disrupt any unlawful activity”.
Warwickshire Police said it had detained 16 people following the demonstration.
dizzy: If you count the people in the article photographs, it looks very close to 16 so we might assume that they’ve all been arrested which is probably the protesters’ expectation and intention
This evening, Mr Gardner urged protesters not to return. He said: “The High Court injunction remains in place. I would strongly advise against people coming to Kingsbury to conduct any protest activity.
“Although the force respects the right to a peaceful protest, we will always take action against anyone found to be acting outside of the law. If you’re believed to be in breach of the order, officers will arrest you and you will be taken into police custody until appearing before the courts.”
Surge in public concern over environment and climate linked to rise in protest activity, research shows
“Protest can be predicted by prior levels of public attention to the environment,” said Ms Kirby, “but a surge in protest levels also leads to increased public attention in the following months”.
“This effect is largely driven by recent protest, which indicates it played a role in recent rise in public concern.”
The research also suggests that the sheer number of people involved in recent protests has a bigger impact on raising concerns about the environment than protesting methods.
A selection of climate protest news – apologies that I’m inevitably missing many.
- Earth Day on Friday saw many protests in North and South America including one protester who took his own life through self-immolation.
- Insulate Britain declares UK courts ‘ “a site of non-violent civil resistance”, saying the UK legal system no longer has any legitimacy.’
- A very broad injunction granted against fuel protests in Essex.
A US climate activist has died after he set himself on fire outside the US supreme court building in Washington.
On Sunday, Kritee Kanko, a Boulder-based climate scientist and Zen Buddhist priest, said Bruce was a friend and member of her Buddhist community, who had been planning the self-immolation for “at least one year”.
“This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis,” Kanko said in a tweet.
In a subsequent interview with the New York Times, Kanko said she could not be certain about Bruce’s intentions. She told the newspaper that “people are being driven to extreme amounts of climate grief and despair” and that “what I do not want to happen is that young people start thinking about self-immolation”.
In an open letter to the UK judiciary, the group wrote: “We understand that this is a difficult time for the UK judiciary and we trust that you will connect to our shared humanity as we come to ask you for help…
“If a government insists on destroying the nation state, then that government is involved in tyranny. It is involved in an act of criminality of the highest order.
“It becomes the duty of all people of conscience to oppose that tyranny as an act of self-defence.
“The criminalisation by the judiciary of ordinary people attempting to preserve lives and the very fabric of our society is abhorrent.
An injunction to prevent people protesting at oil terminals and outside petrol stations has been granted at the High Court.
The injunction applies to all petrol station forecourts in the county as well as several oil terminals.
Activists have staged protests across the county for several weeks.
Protest group Just Stop Oil wants the government to halt new oil and gas projects.