Climate change is the most urgent issue facing the planet and to avoid eco-catastrophe. But halting it doesn’t come for free – and it looks like everyone will have to stump up
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Boris Johnson has finally unveiled his strategy for the UK to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The blueprint to make Britain green lays bare how averting climate disaster will have a profound impact on everyone’s lives.
From the car you drive to the house you live in, the next decade will be one of sweeping change.
So exactly how will it affect you? And what might it all cost?
Here is what we know.
Electric cars are expensive – and you’ll need to buy one
The Government has pledged to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030.
While there will be no requirement for you to scrap your old car, an electric car currently costs between £20,000 and £45,000.
How much help, if any, people will have from the Government to upgrade is not yet clear.
Ministers recognise that most lower-income households don’t buy brand new cars. The Treasury cannot predict what the second-hand electric car market will look like, however, “given that it is a new market”.
So it could mean lower-income motorists end up saddled with loans in order to replace their petrol or diesel car. Or not having a car at all.
Your mortgage could cost more
Ministers are weighing up plans to link mortgages to green home improvements by imposing targets for lenders.
The radical reform of the housing market would aim to nudge people to fork out to decarbonise older homes.
But the drive could pile costs onto poorer families who may struggle to afford the necessary upgrades to get a cheaper mortgage.
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It could mean people struggle to sell older less energy efficient homes, such as massive town houses or large family homes.
Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, also said that while lower energy bills may offset some people’s costs, some houses will cost more to upgrade.
Extra charges for single-use items – not just plastic
Remember when the 10p charge for carrier bags was introduced?
Well, now similar charges could be brought in for all sorts of items you use once as part of a government crackdown on “throwaway culture”.
That will include a whole host of things, from coffee stirrers and straws to cardboard cups.
It is hoped the charges will nudge consumers to use more sustainable items, after the plastic carrier bag charge cut sales in main supermarkets by 95%.
Taxes will go up
Exactly which taxes will go up and when remains unknown, but that they will is a dead cert.
The Treasury document accompanying the Government’s net zero plan spells out as in black and white.
“Overall, a combination of tax, regulation, spending and other facilitative levers will be required,” it says.
For one thing, the move away from fossil fuels will blow a £37bn hole in the UK budget due to the loss of the fuel duty and the vehicle excise duty and, as yet, the Treasury has not seen out how it will make up the shortfall.
Buy a new boiler
The net zero plan says gas boilers in new homes will be banned from 2025 and that by 2050 all homes should be heated with a low-carbon alternative to polluting gas.
This will mean, in most cases, people switching to heat pumps and Government grants of £5,000.
While ministers are not forcing people to ditch their gas boilers yet, they are switching levies on energy bills from electricity supplies on to gas, meaning if you rely largely on gas your bill will go up (by an estimated £159).