“30% World” demands strong Government
More and better Government leadership and interventions, both at national and local level, are essential if we are to cut our CO2 by 30% by 2020. This so-called “30% World” outlined by Lord Turner today in Meeting Carbon Budgets – the need for a step change means, at national level, more market interventions to accelerate investment in power supply and electric vehicles. And locally, a new green role for local government is essential for the street-by-street programme of home energy savings the Climate Change Committee is calling for.
With the right leadership, this programme can create tens of thousands of new jobs and cut our CO2 at the rate needed.
Home improvement is the obvious place to start. No new technology is needed, just doing far more of what we know we can do already. Millions of homes require “weatherisation” treatment through measures such as improved insulation (loft and cavity wall) and improved boiler efficiency. Significant annual CO2 savings are achievable. Furthermore, major employment and skills opportunities are on offer.
In our 2009 Budget submission we said that the Carbon Emission Reduction Target must be reformed to allow a council-led area based national insulation programme, providing basic insulation to the 10 million homes that do not have these measures installed. The cost of the programme is estimated at £5bn – rolling it out at £500m a year would create an additional 20,000 jobs.
Seven million homes require solid wall insulation. A modest national energy loan fund reaching £1bn over seven years, providing for interest free loans to householders, repayable when the home is sold, would enable 300,000 householders to install solid wall insulation. This would create another 5,000 jobs a year.
Kirklees Council’s Warm Zone, a partnership with Eaga, has created 80 full-time jobs and saved approximately £1m a year on household energy bills. The overall economic benefit to the area is calculated at over £50m. An area based approach delivers scale economies, to provide a much needed boost to semi-skilled employment, alleviate fuel poverty and reduce household energy bills.