I suppose I should praise Boris Johnson for announcing what he calls a Green Industrial Revolution’ in the FT this morning, but I find it hard to do so. There are several reasons.
First, the money involved has, by and large, already been previously announced. This is simply a repackaging, in the main.
Second, the amount to be spent is £12 billion, over an extended time scale, which is paltry given the urgency of the issue.
Third, this sum is less than the £17 billion spent by the government buying PPE and other equipment from those with ties to the Conservative Party according to a House of Commons report, also out today.
Fourth, the commitments included those to nuclear (which no one seems that kern to build) and carbon capture and storage, which is of decidedly marginal green value.
And fifth, and by far the most important, is the fact that the most basic changes required to deliver change are omitted from the list of projects to be supported.
So, for example there is no serious mention of household energy saving or insulation. The sum committed is just £30 per U.K. building.
There is nothing about heat pumps.
Nothing also about household boiler replacement programmes.
Or come to that, solar energy generation.
The transformation of household efficiency, which is vital, is ignored as a result.
There is also no discussion on reducing demand for travel.
There is nothing about transforming air travel, bar a commitment to creating electric planes.
There is no increased commitment to rural broadband to make it easier to work at home.
And there is not a hint of the energy transformation required around food.
There is also nothing on flood defences, which will be critical as we have passed the point where rising sea level can be prevented.
Nor is there any indication at all as to how any if this is to be embedded within business processes or reporting.
What there are look like vanity projects to appeal to the middle classes.
This is not a Green Industrial Revolution. This is a sop, at best.
The climate crisis we face is vastly bigger than the coronavirus crisis. Its long term threat to almost every aspect of life as we know it is enormous. And the government is treating it with contempt. That is not good enough. But that’s not because of the politics involved. It’s because it is failing to deal with a very real threat.