Fri, 29 Oct 2021

UK weighing green taxes to reduce costs of fuel, power, heat

Robert Besser
13 Oct 2021, 15:39 GMT+10

LONDON, England: Despite ongoing fuel shortages and rising prices in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a plan to introduce a series of green taxes aimed at funding low-carbon heating plans.

The Times reported Johnson's plan to adopt a carbon pricing scheme by 2023, which will be published ahead of the United Nation's COP26 climate conference in Glasgow next month, with the government warning that average yearly energy bills could be as high as £2,000.

Under the plan, UK households could see a rise of £170 in their average annual gas bill, and gas boilers will also be phased out in favor of significantly more expensive heat pumps.

A £400 million national subsidy will also be used to reduce the cost of heat pumps from some £10,000 to £5,000 over the next three years.

Gas price fluctuations highlight the need to transition from fossil fuels, the government stressed, but critics warned the plan could negatively affect the industry.

Gareth Stace, director-general of UK Steel, said the electricity bills of British steel producers are already 50 to 80 percent higher than their German counterparts, stressing increases in green taxes could damage the steel industry.

"At the moment, there is an energy crisis. If the government does nothing, tomorrow there will be a steel crisis," he added, as quoted by The Times.

Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, head of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group of more than 40 Tory MPs, said the plan should be "discounted and discarded immediately," as the UK is already experiencing "energy poverty."

The conservative wing of the Tory Party also called for the opening of the North Sea to the fracking industry, to make the country less reliant for energy on Russia and the Middle East.

Due to claims of drilling causing earthquake tremors, a moratorium was placed on the fracking industry in England in 2019.

Despite the government's previously supporting fracking, calling it a potential creator of jobs and a solution to the nation's energy problems, Johnson is now focusing on green alternatives to meet the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

But his net-zero plan could cost the UK over £3 trillion, or £100,000 per household, according to a Global Warming Policy Foundation report released in February 2020.

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