Covid and Brexit dominate Boris Johnson’s premiership, and will for at least the rest of this year. But, as I say in the Times today, the speech that Johnson is most excited about giving is not on either of these subjects. Rather, it is on his green agenda. 'The big narrative we’re not getting right is that this has to be a green recovery,' says one of those who has discussed the speech with the Prime Minister.
One of the reasons Johnson is so keen on this speech is his enthusiasm for hydrogen. He and others at the top level of government see it as the answer to many problems. They think that hydrogen could be used not only to fuel heavy goods vehicles, trains and ships but also to heat our homes. The most ambitious figures in government want to replace natural gas with hydrogen so that in 15 years time there’s no carbon used in home heating. The idea is that hydrogen would be pumped through the existing natural gas network (as long as old iron pipes had been replaced by plastic ones) and into our homes.
Johnson’s challenge right now, though, is not coming up with big ideas but handling the Covid crisis. His aim should be to get through these next few weeks and then regroup. In the circumstances, it would be sensible to put off until tomorrow what cannot be done today.