Government net-zero plans amount to nothing

Sam Hey, Plymouth Socialist Party

As the working class hurtles deeper into this cost-of-living crisis, we prepare for what seems like an inevitable winter of colossal fuel bills.

Meanwhile, “the UK continues to have some of the leakiest homes in Europe and installations of insulation remain at rock bottom”, accordingto the government’s own Climate Change Committee (CCC).

The owners of British Gas, Centrica, have predicted that annual profits this year will hit the top end of expectations.

Alongside the deliberate lack of action from the government to insulate homes, rising profits of the private energy companies are being fuelled by those unable to afford the cost of private insulation.

The government has just recommitted to net zero, meaning that they have renewed their commitment to ensure that the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions will be equal to or less than the emissions the UK removes from the environment. The CCC chair, Tory Lord Deben, said he “welcomes the government’s restated commitment to net zero, but holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently.” He added: “This report showed that present plans will not fulfil the commitments.”

The government is more than happy to announce a ‘recommitment’, but actual net-zero policies are necessary to reach this target. Their problem is that such measures would be likely to dent the profits of the big energy companies. As would any serious measures to address the cost-of-living crisis. The government’s number one priority is not saving the environment by achieving net zero, but to make sure bosses’ profits are suitably insulated. The Socialist Party fights for nationalisation of the big energy companies under democratic working- class control, to use their fat profits to invest in home insulation and other measures to save the planet from catastrophe, and workers from cost-of-living hell.