The Daily Telegraph

Net zero target to cost homes ‘at least double’ Whitehall estimate

- By Joe Pinkstone Science correspond­ent

REACHING net zero will cost households at least double the amount estimated in a government review, an expert has said.

The 340-page Mission Zero report by former minister Chris Skidmore outlines recommenda­tions to help Britain reach net zero by 2050.

It suggests households will save from £400 to £6,000 by transition­ing to a net zero home, which includes replacing boilers and buying electric cars.

But they would first have to spend £4,000 to £6,000 on bringing their home up to environmen­tal standards.

However, Prof David Reiner, assistant director at the University of Cambridge’s Energy Policy Research, said the costs to households is likely to be much higher – at least twice as much.

Scientists were largely complement­ary of the report, but there was some consternat­ion over a lack of detail on how the recommenda­tions will lead to action, how much it will cost overall and how it will be funded.

Prof Reiner said: “Net zero is an actual real target that requires many tens of billions in investment and also quite dramatic changes in behaviour to which people will need to be incentivis­ed.”

Professor Myles Allen, director of the net zero initiative at the University of Oxford, said the review was encouragin­g and that some of the recommenda­tions are “spot on”.

He added that the debate over costs to the public could be avoided completely if the companies that make the emissions are forced to fix them.

Prof Allen said: “For many people, climate action is seen as a problem for consumers but the fossil fuel industry is making enough money to solve climate change and have some change.

“We should think of this as a waste disposal problem where producers of CO2 should be made responsibl­e for disposing of the CO2 generated by the products they sell. If they were, then they’ve got the resources to fix the problem and fix it affordably.”

He added: “Why is this your problem? Why is it not the problem of the person who’s providing you with that gas who’s making plenty of money at the moment?

“To stop fossil fuels causing global warming we need to dispose of CO2 so we need a carbon capture and storage industry. But I’ve argued for years, why does the taxpayer have to pay for this?”

Prof Allen said: “The companies are not going to do it by themselves, of course not, they’re not charities. But if they were required to do it, they would just get on with it.

“The industry isn’t going to throw flowers around at the prospect of new regulation, but so what? They’re selling stuff that’s causing global warming, they should fix it.

“And if they were required to do so, they would have every incentive to do it as cost effectivel­y as possible.”

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