The UK needs better insulated homes to free us from Putin and the fossil fuel giants | Helena Bennett

WWith every new premiership comes new trials and tribulations. No one will be more aware of this than Liz Truss and her new cabinet, who have no choice but to launch a plan to relieve the British public from its clutches. Vulgar gas prices That caused an increase in energy bills.

The cost-of-living crisis is due almost entirely to Putin’s war in Ukraine and his unparalleled strangulation of gas supplies in Europe. The UK’s exorbitant energy bills are driven by international markets. Not, as some believe, because of our inability to provide more gas and increase its supply. Expansion of drilling in the North Sea and Cracking the English countryside It will have little impact on global shortages and gas prices.

Continuing to pursue fossil fuels for an impossible end is counterproductive, and it is not just the oil and gas industries, which continue to exaggerate the scale of reinvestment in “clean energy security” (despite what their well-placed advertisements around the Westminster tube station may do). behold).

Truss will likely feel emboldened to make impulsive and unsustainable decisions about how to solve this mess. The relentless fossil fuel lobby will warn her Reducing our use of gas would be a grave mistake that will only exacerbate the impact on an already faltering economy. And short-term support packages, while badly needed, won’t address the underlying problem. show plan 130 billion pounds sterling For families is a plaster stuck to a wound that is aggravating and growing. It is not a stable and reliable solution that adequately responds to the unknown future risks of the international energy market.

The truth is that getting rid of gas is the only real way to be immune to its unpredictable supply and price. All indications are that the cost of gas will remain volatile for years to come, and putting out a fire by adding more wood to a wood-burning stove is completely irrational.

The challenge of “managing energy demand” does not appeal to officials, compared to the relatively easy task of building renewable energy. This is best illustrated by how the price of offshore wind has fallen, thanks to government subsidies a decade ago Nine times cheaper than gas. Meanwhile, funding for home insulation has been canceled in large part David Cameron ban From the “green litter”, its rates Declining since 2012leaving the United Kingdom together The most dangerous houses in Europe. But the government can no longer ignore the impact that reduced energy waste can have on costs. The primary way to reduce bills is to properly insulate people’s homes.

Of course, there is an upfront cost. Government climate advisor, Climate Change Commission, estimates the total cost of upgrading homes in the UK 250 billion pounds sterling. But the benefits to be reaped rich. Homes rated with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) are likely to have the band F Gas bills £968 higher Of the houses in the C band, according to one study, moving only one band, from D to C will knock £420 per year of household energy bills. But in the face of yet another unprecedented crisis, most people will need help with the required upfront investment, even if they are likely to pay for themselves in the long run.

There is a lot this government can do to start the rapid rollout of insulation measures that help keep people warm and lower energy bills. a A recent opinion pollcommissioned by the Green Alliance, found that nine in 10 people agree that more knowledge about insulation is needed to encourage people to upgrade their homes. A public information campaign to encourage people to adopt energy-saving measures would be an excellent place to start but, nonetheless Rumors of such a campaignNothing was announced by the prime minister last week.

Households need an appropriately funded program for rapid isolation, especially those who are fuel-poor and struggling to pay the bills. Besides direct financial assistance for scaling up retrofit efforts, financial measures should be introduced to stimulate investment in insulation, such as soft loans to homeowners and regulation of green mortgages that allow the release of equity to finance the measures.

This September falls between the recent record-breaking heat waves and the upcoming winter. In addition to helping people stay warm during the colder months, insulation also provides a respite from hot baking temperatures, by keeping buildings cool.

There is now an unprecedented consensus on the need to lower energy bills in the long run, and this has been embodied in the newly formed coalition warm this winterIt is run by a group of leading organizations, including Save the Children, Oxfam and Greenpeace.

The fossil fuel industry is parasitic. He earned £170 billion in windfall profits during this crisis while the rest of the economy pulls out before it impending recession. The triple threat of lower bills, better energy security, and lower emissions from upgrading people’s homes is a threat to the industry; When insulated homes need less energy to stay warm, oil and gas starts to run out.

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