Gas flame. Photo: Pexels/CC
Gas flame. Photo: Pexels/CC

Nationalise energy – don’t reward shareholders for pollution

Ellen Kenyon-Peers, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

Domestic gas boilers emit more nitrous oxide than a new car. Combined, our boilers have a carbon footprint double that of all power stations.

They’re our most popular heat generation source. They’re currently in 78% of UK homes. And account for a whopping 21% of UK emissions.

Simply put, we need better ways to create and retain heat in our homes. Better insulated accommodation, with modern, efficient methods of heating would vastly decrease emissions.

Cold, damp homes

And it would increase occupants’ wellbeing. Over 1,000 people died due to the cold, damp conditions of their homes last winter.

The Tories’ environmental legacy includes sewage in our waterways, opening a new polluting coal mine, and pursuing fracking despite local and national opposition. They have sacked off yet another climate pledge – to replace our gas boilers.

But the scrapped Tory scheme controversially proposed volatile hydrogen as an alternative. A lack of investment into research around the potential pitfalls – in addition to a hurried attempt to force a hydrogen-based solution onto the village of Whitby in Ellesmere Port – has resulted in plans being halted after a public campaign.

The short-sighted and profit-centric approach taken by the Tories is no surprise. The government’s flagship ‘Green Homes Scheme’ offered grants to retrofit insulation in existing properties. But it was scrapped just six months after its launch.

People and planet before profit

The Socialist Party demands mass retrofitting to insulate and add ancillary energy sources to existing buildings. Under capitalism, privatised energy firms choose profit over the health and wellbeing of us and the planet.

We need a socialist solution. Energy companies, who have raked in huge profits over the last year, must be nationalised to fund this work. And if these giants are democratically controlled by the working class, we can make a real plan to combat climate change.