Good Grief!

Someone who agrees with me!

On the subject of fuel poverty, insisting that the companies pay to subsidise those in fuel poverty is a nonsense. It\’s a disguised tax on all the other power users.

Taxes of course should be transparent, not disguised (yes, I know, ho, ho).

Brenda Boardman, a former government adviser on energy and senior research fellow at Oxford University\’s Environmental Change Institute, said it would be fairer to raise funding via means tested income tax.

Quite, only if we can see what is being spent and the effects of it can we work out whether it\’s a sensible thing to be spending money on.

She said government efforts to date on fuel poverty amounted to \’token gestures\’ and estimated that it would cost a staggering £45bn for the \’super energy efficiency\’ measures necessary to take the six million households out of fuel poverty – and keep them there.

Perhaps it isn\’t a sensible way to spend the money then?

The Government\’s plan is to save 3.5 million tonnes of emissions from residential properties. Assuming that the above cost is related to that target, we\’ve got a £12,000 or so capital cost for each tonne of CO2 saved per year. Given the Government\’s (correct, according to Stern) estimate of the social costs of a tonne of CO2 at £30 or so a tonne (rough number) we have a payback period of some 400 years (that\’s with no adjustment for interest or the value of money over time).

Sometimes 400 year investments pay off of course, like the founding of Quebec City. But given that there are methods of reducing CO2 emissions that have a capital cost of a great deal less than twelve grand, this plan is, in technical terms, best described as pissing away the accumulated wealth of the nation.

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