Michael Kelly

Boris’s green industrial revolution is doomed to fail

An Extinction Rebellion protester in Parliament Square (Getty images)

Boris Johnson’s ‘green industrial revolution’, which was announced this week, looks doomed from the outset. From our heating to how we transport food, the proposals would mean a complete overhaul in the way we live. Yet barely a word has been said about the immense practical difficulties involved in Johnson’s ten-point plan for Britain to go carbon neutral by 2050. Make no mistake, it will be close to impossible to achieve – and even trying could prove catastrophic.

Nowhere is the flaw in the government’s plan more clearly exposed than in the announcement that sales of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars will be banned by 2030. There are more than 38.9 million cars, vans and lorries on our roads today. We would likely need to build over ten million charging points – amounting to thousands a day between now and 2030 – to totally switch over to electric vehicles. Is this really realistic?

And can our current infrastructure cope with this surge in demand? Typical UK homes use a daily average of 2kW of electricity throughout most of the year, which rises to a peak of around 7kW during winter. Most cars charge at 7kW for a typical eight hours, and get anything from 30 miles of range per hour for a small car, to less than 20 miles for a larger car. In other words, every time an electric car is charged, it requires more than double the amount of electricity an average home uses now. And faster chargers are not a solution, either, for they draw more current, which will cause infrastructure challenges.

The end of our climate mitigation actions will not justify the means.

In August 2019, there were power cuts across Britain after a series of failures led to electricity outages. The move towards electric vehicles and domestic heating based around electric heat pumps is going to increase demand and reliance upon the electricity grid.

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