Climate change: Confusion and high costs threaten net zero homes plan

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Householders will not be able to free their own homes from emitting greenhouse gases unless the government steps in, the prime minister has been warned.

In an open letter to Boris Johnson, Citizens Advice, Which?, Aldersgate Group and the Federation of Master Builders said it is currently too expensive, complicated and risky for people to decarbonise their homes.

Energy use in homes accounts for 14% of total UK emissions and slashing it will play a crucial role in the UK's plans to tackle climate change.

The UK has legally committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, which means cutting emissions as much as possible and offsetting the rest.

The group - which includes consumer and construction industry bodies - called the task of retrofitting the UK's 29 million homes a "once in a generation undertaking". But it warned people could be put off by "horror stories" or if they can't afford to make changes.

Dame Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said making green changes to homes is "too confusing and too often things go wrong for those trying to do the right thing".

She said the public was behind the net-zero transition, but that it needs the right information and tools to do so.

The publication of the government's Net Zero and its Heat and Buildings strategies have both been delayed but are now expected in the autumn.

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The coalition claimed that attempts to adapt homes are too often foiled by problems, including poor installation, technologies not working as expected, and people struggling to fix things when they go wrong.

It is urging the government to learn from the mistakes of past energy efficiency schemes, which left some struggling with damp and mould due to poorly fitted insulation, and others with expensive long-term problems.

The group is calling on government to provide better information and to help with the costs involved. It says current consumer protections are not fit for the pace and scale of the work needed to adapt millions of UK homes.

A government spokesperson said it is investing £1.3 billion this year in home energy efficiency measures and its Simple Energy Advice service provides information on financial support.

The warning comes as the National Housing Federation claims that England's "leaky" homes create more carbon than its cars, due to gas heating and poor insulation. The group, which represents housing associations, is requesting £3.8 billion from the government to retrofit social housing.

Sky News has launched the first daily prime time news show dedicated to climate change.

The Daily Climate Show is broadcast at 6.30pm and 9.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

Hosted by Anna Jones, it follows Sky News correspondents as they investigate how global warming is changing our landscape and how we all live our lives.

The show also highlights solutions to the crisis and how small changes can make a big difference.

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