Banning conservatories is exactly the kind of idiocy that could finish off Boris and ‘net zero’

The clue is in the name: the Conservative Party. How can the Conservative Party even think of banning conservatories? Did they miss the memo? How could they ignore that an attack on conservatory dwellers is an attack on everything it means to be a curator: ambitious, homeowner, family-oriented – and rather proud of the garden? Proposed restrictions on building conservatories in the name of ‘net zero’ are a red rag to the already enraged core of British Tory voters.

Such obvious facts are no longer visible from the inner ring of the death spiral into which Boris Johnson’s prime ministership appears to have entered. Instead of desperately throwing objects out of the tornado, hoping they’ll catch something – boats! Sonic Blasts! Ghana! The BBC! – No 10 should think about why Operation Boris is so desperately short of grappling hooks.

Here and there it drifts, sustained only by the occasional burst of brilliant eloquence, like air blown into a hot-air balloon. The only thing needed to burst the bubble was the pinprick of a scandal like Partygate and hey ho, that’s it.

Soon, however, if Mr Johnson can last that long, the party rage will be exhausted and he will have an opportunity to do more than flounder. Here’s something he could actually do that would really improve people’s lives: he could start solving the plight of our energy supply.

This situation, unlike supply chain congestion, is entirely a mess of our own making. Rising household bills are now a major contributor to inflation, which outpaces wage growth. Later this year, despite price caps, costs are set to break all records set over the past decade, taking us from an average annual bill of around £1,200 to potentially over £1,500. .

Currently, the debate over what to do about it centers around VAT, which is 5% of your bill, or business profits, which is 1-2%. Thanks for nothing, Westminster.

Politicians could move the dial a bit by suspending various green levies and boiler systems. But the “social” costs imposed on consumers are in fact mainly made up of redistributive policies such as the granting of rebates to poor households. It’s not something that would be wise to put on hold during a price spike.

By far the largest share of our bills is the simple cost of energy on the open market. If the government is not prepared to pull the levers that increase our energy supply, there is little it can do to reduce costs.

In fact, for 20 years, governments have done the opposite: shutting down coal production and only partially replacing it with renewable, weather-dependent generation. They claimed they were “diversifying” supply by enhancing our ability to import gas. But guess what: it turns out that when gas is stifled at one end of the European continent by pernicious Russian policy, it affects us at the other end, no matter how many pipelines and terminals we have built.

Luckily for Boris, there’s something he could do about it pretty quickly. It could put in place a set of incentives to accelerate gas exploration and production in the North Sea.

Gas producers would not be able to meet demand in time to affect prices this year, but they could almost certainly increase production enough over the next few years to ease pressure on households and stabilize fuel costs. energy for the next decade, giving us valuable time. build a full-scale nuclear power program to replace all those coal-fired power plants that were hastily shut down.

After all, Norway, whose gas explorers operate just across the North Sea, has managed to keep its reserves stable for the past 30 years, while Britain’s gas industry, recklessly treated as a cash cow by successive governments, entered into crisis decline.

Nor would this approach mean giving up on the government’s net zero aspirations. Today, we import more than one-fifth of our gas in liquid form by tank truck, one of the most expensive and energy-efficient ways of using fuel. Domestic production would simply displace much of that consumption and lead us into the era of low carbon emissions.

In the long term, a much more ambitious nuclear programme, improvements in energy storage and a carbon tariff to prevent emissions from being offshored would allow the UK to reduce emissions without becoming the poster child for how to s impoverish through reckless green policies.

There is only one reason why a Conservative government would shy away from this policy: it is afraid of the environmental movement.

Green protesters are particularly narrow in their view of carbon emissions. They think that if the UK produces more of its own gas, it mechanically increases the amount of gas the world uses, ignoring the fact that markets are dynamic. No need to try to convince the most zealous of these believers. There will always be another bunch of them waiting to smash onto highways or block bridges. And if the government is serious about reviving national energy markets, you can bet the Extinction team will stop at nothing to sabotage the plan.

Rather than cower in front of their roadblocks, Boris should fight. It is unacceptable for a tiny minority to determine policy for the rest of the country as households struggle to manage an extraordinary drop in living standards.

Voters want to see a prime minister willing to stand up for them with policies that will make a difference in their lives. They’d like someone who’s tough enough to roll with the punches of the green establishment. They are sick of listening instead to a dithering man with no plan promising he will ‘unleash Britain’s potential’ by banning conservatories and blocking our gas hobs.

I am among those who believe that a shift to ‘net zero’ energy production is necessary and that Britain can benefit from being at the forefront. But there’s no future for this program if it simply becomes an indicator of a sustained assault on our quality of life, first through our gas bills and then through our home improvements. And there is no future for a Prime Minister who follows outrage and outrage with platitudes and mirthless environmental jokes.

It’s time to stop telling ourselves what we can’t do and start telling ourselves what we can and will do to improve our lot. Otherwise, Boris might as well give up now.

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