The Prime Minister appeared before the House of Commons Liaison Committee yesterday. A Guardian report suggests that Boris is still unsure about how his 10 point plan will be implemented, how it will affect the public and what to do about it….Clive Betts asked about the minimal progress made on emissions from housing, and for his trouble received a recap of the progress made between 2009 and 2015, and some flim-flam about how heat pumps cost “10 grand a pop. This is a lot of money for ordinary people”.

Last Friday Carbon Brief Daily had reported that a front page Times article with the provocative title ‘Gas and car bills to soar under green revolution’ stated that the government is going to propose a carbon reduction scheme which would increase gas bills and petrol car ownership costs by hundreds of pounds a year. Phasing out of gas heating and petrol transport will have to be happen, somehow, to reach the the promised net zero by 2050 but the paper.. has been told that the prime minister does not want to include petrol in the scheme amid concerns that it would penalise motorists”, while the government “said last night that no decisions had been made”.

Policy makers and the business sector have expressed frustration in forums run by Policy Connect and the Climate Innovation Forum,  they can’t plan ahead and make basic decisions about how to decarbonise because they are still awaiting the Heat and Building Strategy. This all begs the question, if the government is still in the process of working out how to decarbonise our economy without causing riots in the streets, why doesn’t it look to adopting Carbon Fee and Dividend, whose merits it acknowledged last year in the The Future of UK Carbon Pricing?

The Carbon Fee and Dividend approach involves introducing an escalating fee on fossil fuels, which is imposed as close to the extraction point of the fuel as possible. 100% of the funds raised after deduction of administration costs are redistributed to the population. Business competitiveness issues are mitigated by imposing import fees on products entering the country and rebates to exporting businesses. Advocates of the approach highlight that a well-designed scheme would have social and environmental benefits, equitably distributing the revenues and stimulating investment in low carbon technologies.….. Placing a price on carbon creates the incentive for emissions to be reduced in a cost effective and technology-neutral way, while mobilising the private sector to invest in emissions reduction technologies and measures. While we recognise the merits of a Carbon Fee and Dividend policy, we do not propose to adopt it at this time.

Photograph of Boris Johnson at the Liaison  Committee on Wednesday 7th July. Photograph: House of Commons/PA