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Menopausal Mother Nature

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The Crippling Costs And Zero Benefits Of Net Zero

natural gas heating

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a special report last week, setting out its proposals for achieving ‘Net Zero’ carbon emissions.

One of its headline demands is that gas-fired domestic boilers should no longer be sold after 2025.

This echoes one of the main policies in the UK government’s Net Zero plan. This is no coincidence.

National governments, including the UK, draw all of their climate policies from faceless global agencies like the IEA (as well as domestic quangos like the Climate Change Committee).

This process leaves out one important constituency: the public.

A ban on gas boilers will impose serious costs on ordinary people. A backlash is highly likely. You might think the practicalities of the policy would be of interest to journalists and the media.

But journalists have taken the IEA’s proposals at face value, and have mainly reported them without scrutiny.

Take the BBC’s Matt McGrath. ‘To keep the world safe, scientists say that global heating has to be limited to 1.5°C by the end of this century,’ he writes on the BBC News website. ‘The IEA’s new study sets out what it believes to be a realistic road map to achieve that aim.’

There is no skepticism about the proposals, no consideration of their consequences, or even any questioning of why we should take orders from technocrats about how to live.

An excited Andrew Evans Pritchard, the Telegraph’s business correspondent, also reproduces the IEA’s claims uncritically. ‘Net Zero does not cost jobs: it replaces five million lost in oil, gas, and coal with eight times as many… It does not raise energy costs: it cuts the average bill for households.’

This is bonkers, to put it mildly. When policies face no challenge from the media, they are much more likely to be taken up by governments. But when they inevitably go wrong, none of their advocates will be held accountable.

It is worth reiterating what a ban on gas boilers means for the British public. Around 23.8 million homes are connected to the gas grid, which they depend on for heating and hot water.

Another one million homes depend on heating oil. Just 1.7 million homes depend on electric heating – mainly flats and some rural properties.

The reason gas is so prevalent is that it is abundant and cheap. This makes it a far more useful source of energy from the consumer’s perspective.

Gas costs around a quarter of the price of electricity per kilowatt-hour. And so, unsurprisingly, the total energy delivered by the gas grid is around four times that delivered by the electricity grid.

But the public’s need for cheap, reliable energy is not compatible with the Net Zero agenda. As part of the transition, some 25 million homes will have to be ‘upgraded’.

This will require gas combi boilers – which are small enough to fit in a kitchen cabinet – to be replaced by an air-source heat-pump unit, including a large ‘buffer’ tank.

These new units will take up roughly the space of a large cupboard. Due to the lower operating temperature of air-source central-heating systems, radiators will have to be replaced with units that are twice the size as well.

Connections to the radiators will also have to be replaced with larger diameter pipework. All of these ‘upgrades’ will leave people with far less space in their homes.

Official estimates of the costs of heat pump installation vary from £8,000 to £16,000, depending on the size of the property.

And these figures do not include all the extra insulation that is needed to make air-source heat pumps viable (which will likely be required by other Net Zero legislation in any case).

New and ratcheting energy-efficiency standards will likely force homeowners to pay for these expensive retrofits before they can legally sell their houses.

Read rest at Spiked

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