[Re: World set to warm by 2.4 degrees, yesterday]
Cop26 has accelerated our desire to decarbonise but how much will it cost? I simply do not subscribe to the idea that the UK has an endless pot of money funded with Modern Monetary Theory. Yes, a dead planet is worse but there needs to be some realism to the discussion.
We need to cut our cloth but it doesn’t need to be austerity, it needs to be practicality.
If emissions are the issue, we need to travel less or adopt electric transport. Yet our generation grid remains 50 per cent carbon. Think of the cost of the millions of electric cars we need, the nuclear reactors, or a wholescale peppering of renewable wind farms and solar across the entire country. There are no easy decisions but perhaps the hardest one is how will it be paid for?
Which brings me to the lowest hanging fruit in the Treasury: HS2.
It’s estimated to cost £175bn and the Department for Transport admits it will not be carbon neutral for 120 years.
It’s a 330 mile scar across the countryside ripping out thousands of acres of trees and hedgerow to backfill with thousands of tons of concrete. Cement is a major Co2 contributor.
Let’s not forget it’s connecting four airports that all have planning permission to double in size and state that HS2 is critical to their expansion plans? The train will use three times more energy than current intercity trains. It will need half a nuclear reactor to power it.