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Britain will become the "Qatar of hydrogen", Boris Johnson has said as he laid out his Government's green agenda today ahead of the Cop26 climate summit.
Speaking at the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum, the Prime Minister hailed the advances of the private sector in enabling the production of Covid vaccines and bringing wind power to the market.
"And that's what we're now doing with hydrogen," Mr Johnson said.
"We want to be the Qatar of hydrogen - I think Qatar may already be the Qatar of hydrogen, but we want to be with you."
Britain will pivot to green power by 2035 and the market will ultimately drive consumers to go green, he added.
It comes as the Government published its Net Zero Strategy in which it pledged that heat pumps will be no more expensive to run than gas boilers, which will be gradually phased out through a newly-announced scheme.
Ministers also confirmed a zero-emission vehicle mandate to deliver on the end of new petrol and diesel car sales by 2030, alongside billions of pounds in green funding across transport, industry and finance.
Follow the latest updates below.
The Treasury verdict on Net Zero plans
"Policies to support the adoption of electric vehicles may disproportionately benefit higher income groups, and the costs of any policies that affect the remaining drivers may fall disproportionately on low-income groups.
"This could create a trade-off in some areas between incentivising de-carbonisation and minimising distributional impacts."
Walking and cycling should become 'natural first choice'
The Net Zero Strategy says the £2bn Active Travel Fund, first confirmed by Grant Shapps last spring, will invest in bike lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods to encourage people out of their cars, with walking and cycling becoming the "natural first choice", reports Olivia Rudgard.
Electric cars will not "solve all our problems", the government said, as it said cargo bikes and boats would also replace road freight in industry.
"We cannot simply rely on the electrification of road transport, or believe that zero emission cars and lorries will solve all our problems.
"As we build back better from the pandemic, it will be essential to avoid a car-led recovery."
There will also be a £12bn investment in local transport and a £3bn national bus strategy, including 4,000 new zero-emission buses.
'The rush to heat pumps hasn't been thought out'
There’s a reason for the Government’s long-awaited Heat and Buildings Strategy being significantly delayed, which is that there was intense wrangling between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Treasury, writes Joe Armitage.
Today, it looks as though the Treasury ultimately won that battle, given that just £450m over a three-year period will be spent on heat pump grants, capped at £5,000 a pop, which is barely sufficient to cover half the typical installation cost per home.
As a consequence, energy companies and consumers - through a mix of hard-hitting regulation and levies - will pick up the tab required to meet the government’s target of installing 600,000 heat pumps each year by 2028. We are told in a prime ministerial opinion piece this morning that the public shouldn’t be worried about their bills rising.
Just over half of Britain support funding poorer nations on climate issues
Fifty-two per cent of Britons support funding poorer nations to support them through the impacts of climate change, the results of a new poll have shown.
Forty-two per cent said they thought developed countries such as the UK and the US had done more to contribute to the causes of climate change, while two-fifths (40 per cent) felt Britain's influence in the world would decrease if the Government did not meet its financial support commitments.
A total of 47 per cent of those surveyed think the Government should both focus on limiting climate change in the future and helping people adapt to its consequences to date.
The research was carried out for WaterAid by YouGov, who surveyed 1,792 British adults
Electric car manufacturers will have to meet quota from 2024
Electric car manufacturers will have to make a certain proportion of their vehicle sales electric from 2024, under new rules announced today, writes Olivia Rudgard.
A planned "zero emission vehicles (ZEV) mandate" is designed to kickstart the electric car market and give charger companies and drivers confidence that there will be enough electric cars on the road.
The hope is that this change will "provide certainty", the government's new Net Zero strategy says, by making the expected growth in the electric car market more predictable, in turn allowing for investment in charging stations, power networks and companies which supply parts to car manufacturers.
Greg Archer, of campaign group Transport and Environment, said it would "enable much better planning for the shift and much lower CO2 emissions".
But the plan was branded "unnecessary" by the AA, with Edmund King calling it a "‘red tape’ exercise" which "could harm car production plans already in place".
New petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030, under previously-announced plans, with hybrids to follow suit in 2035, by which time all new cars must be "zero-emission at the tailpipe".
Heat and Building Strategy would leave heat pump demand unmet 'six times over'
The Government's new Heat and Building Strategy would leave demand for heat pumps unmet six times over, according to Octopus Energy's Centre for Net Zero.
According to Centre for Net Zero (CNZ) modelling, around 560,000 households would benefit from switching to heat pumps if they had access to a Government grant. Despite this, the scheme will only be available to 90,000 households.
Lucy Yu, the chief executive of CNZ, said: "We welcome the introduction of the £5,000 heat pump grant being offered and the certainty it provides to industry which will catalyse further investment - but by capping overall spend at £450 million, the Government is leaving demand unmet.
"If ministers are serious about getting the numbers of heat pumps into people’s homes that will keep us on track to achieving net zero, they must consider increasing the available funding rather than cutting off demand."
Meanwhile Sam Nadel, head of government relations at Oxfam, said that while "solid progress" had been made, "let's not pretend this is mission accomplished".
"One key omission is the absence of any commitment to end new licences for oil and gas exploration, and to phase out production. With plans for a new coal mine in Cumbria, the Government's stated priority of encouraging other countries to phase out coal looks very shaky."
And Greenpeace described the plan as "more of a pick-and-mix than the substantial meal we need".
Draughty homes could struggle for mortgages, and other key Net Zero takeaways
The government has released a suite of net zero and environmental policies today, including its Net Zero Strategy, the Heat and Buildings Strategy, and a host of responses to other consultations and proposals on everything from carbon capture to flood prevention, writes Olivia Rudgard.
Here are some of the top lines:
Draughty homes could struggle to get mortgages under plans to tie lending to insulation improvements.
Car manufacturers will be required to make a specific proportion of their sales zero-emission vehicles, in an effort to kickstart the electric vehicle market, from 2024.
£620m will be given in new funds for grants to help people buy electric cars, and to fund local street chargers for people without driveways.
Britain's net-zero targets are "not feasible" without carbon capture, with £100m in funding now set to go on developing technologies to suck carbon out of the air.
A target to treble tree-planting in England by May 2024 and to restore 280,000 ha of peatland in England by 2050 - around 40 per cent of the total.
Free separate food waste collections for all households from 2025, with £295m in funding for local authorities to do this. The aim is for almost no biodegradable waste to go to landfill by 2028, to cut methane emissions.
Net zero in numbers
£2.5 billion has already been confirmed by the Government which will go to off-the-grid properties through the Home Upgrade Grant, Greg Hands told the Commons.
440,000 well-paid jobs will be supported to the tune of £90 billion private investment in 2030.
£9.7 billion of green deals will support eco-friendly growth, creating around 30,000 jobs in the UK.
The Government will leverage up to £90 billion of private investment, by 2030.
80 per cent of global GDP is now signed up to carbon neutrality or net zero targets.
Net Zero Strategy: The Government's key transport commitments
The sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans will come to an end from 2030, the Government confirmed today in one of many transport pledges in its Net Zero strategy.
This will be enabled by a zero emission vehicle mandate, while the sale of all non-zero emission vehicles will end by 2040. An additional £620 million will fund the cost of the transition to electric vehicles.
An electric vehicle infrastructure strategy is to be published later this year, while public transport will receive investment of £12 billion. The Government also plans to "increase the share of journeys taken by public transport, cycling and walking" in lieu of car use.
Cycling and walking green schemes will continue to receive investment to the tune of £2bn, resulting in thousands of miles of cycle lanes and low-traffic neighbourhoods.
And at least one city will become a zero-emission transport city, as announced by the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
Breaking: Cabinet minister escorted away from protesters by police
Police have escorted Michael Gove away from a protest after a group of demonstrators approached the Communities Secretary in London.
The Metropolitan Police tweeted: "We're aware of a protest in Westminster today which is marching to a number of locations.
"During this protest, a group attempted to surround a Member of Parliament on Horseferry Road.
"Our officers were immediately on scene where they safely escorted him to a nearby building."
It comes amid renewed fears about the security of MPs after the killing of Sir David Amess last week.
Brexit latest: UK plans to curb influence of European court could jeopardise Brexit deal
British plans to curb the influence of the European Court of Human Rights could lead to Brussels tearing up the Brexit trade deal, the EU has warned.
"We will be watching this very carefully," an EU official said. "It could have a major impact on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement."
Dominic Raab, the new Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, told The Telegraph he wants ministers to have the power to "correct" judgements from the Strasbourg court by introducing ad hoc legislation.
The European Court of Human Rights is not an EU body. Its convention is put into national law by the Human Rights Act, which Mr Raab, the former Brexit negotiator, wants to reform.
But under the Brexit trade deal and a new extradition treaty with the UK, the EU secured commitments that the body would be respected.
World leaders must work together to beat climate change, urges the Queen
Governments must work together to beat climate change, the Queen has said, calling it the greatest challenge the world now faces.
The Queen said leaders, businesses and civil society must align in the “shared responsibility” of saving the planet, in her first major intervention on environment issues.
She is “proud” of “how the United Kingdom is seeking to secure a sustainable future”, but warned there is “yet there is still much more to do”.
While the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge have made the environment a cornerstone of their work and public speaking, the Queen has so far contributed in quieter ways, such as planting trees.
Last week, she was overheard in conversation ahead of the Cop26 summit, saying it was “irritating” when people “talk but don’t do”.
'Getting to net zero will come at a price – no matter what Boris or Biden say'
Not since Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal has a president had such lofty ambitions for American investment, writes Kate Andrews. Joe Biden has promised sweeping infrastructure upgrades, new roads and bridges to better connect the States.
He wants more public schools to be built, and parents given additional “free” education for preschoolers. Top-ups for childcare costs, paid leave and tuition fees have all been floated, alongside tax breaks for families.
The grand cost of all these pledges? Zero dollars, we’re told. That’s according to the official White House Twitter account, which claimed on Sunday that the approximate total of Biden’s “Build Back Better agenda” would amount to $0.
The claim is so unbelievable not even the White House could fully follow it through. In the same tweet, it makes explicitly clear that tax rises on corporations and the “very wealthy” will be paying for Biden’s spending spree.
The American experience is a lesson for Boris Johnson’s Government: Johnson is arguably in the stronger political position. But while the Prime Minister’s popularity seems to hold up in the good times and bad, it has not yet been challenged by a severe cost of living crisis, which by most accounts is coming down the track, fast.
£120 million pledged for nuclear energy fund
The UK is pledging £120 million for the development of nuclear energy projects, writes James Warrington.
The investment boost will be granted through the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, the Net Zero Strategy confirmed.
The funding will help to keep options open for decommissioned sites such as Wylfa in Wales.
France sets two-week deadline for Britain to grant fishermen more licences
France has set a two-week deadline for Britain and Jersey to give French fishermen greater access to their coastal waters ahead of attempts by EU and UK negotiators to find a resolution to the post-Brexit row over licences, Joe Barnes reports.
During a tense meeting with the European Commission and representatives from the French fishing industry, Annick Girardin, France's maritime minister, gave Britain and its Crown dependency until Nov 1 to approve more licences or risk retaliatory measures.
Paris is furious that the UK approved just 15 permits for small French fishing boats to operate in its coastal waters out of 47 applications.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, has told his government to draw up plans for reprisals against Britain in four areas, including cutting energy supplies to the UK and Jersey or severing Anglo-French ties in defence and security.
'Costs and benefits' of Net Zero will both filter through to households
Both the "costs and benefits" of the Government's Net Zero Strategy will filter through to households, the Treasury has said in a review accompanying the document.
While it said that the costs of global inaction on climate change would "significantly outweigh" the costs of action, it did not put any numbers on how individual household finances would be affected during the next 30 years.
"There will be demands on public spending, but the biggest impact comes from the erosion of tax revenues from fossil fuel-related activity," the report said.
"As with all economic transitions, ultimately the costs and benefits of the transition will pass through to households through the labour market, prices and asset values".
The Treasury suggested existing taxes could need changing, in addition to "new sources of revenue", as opposed to increased borrowing in the prospective absence of revenue streams such as fuel duty.
Government pledges affordable heat pumps
The Government has pledged to ensure that heat pumps are no more expensive to run than gas boilers.
Its newly-published Net Zero Strategy admits that the cost of a heat pump is currently "significantly more expensive" than gas boilers, which ministers want to phase out.
"However, the cost of installing heat pumps should fall significantly as the market scales up, and the Heat and Buildings Strategy has set ambitions on reducing the installed cost of heat pumps over this decade," the report states.
"We will look to help the market drive down the upfront costs, which leading market participants believe can make heat pumps as cheap to buy and run as a gas boiler by 2030... By addressing existing distortions between electricity and gas prices, we will ensure heat pumps will be no more expensive to run than gas boilers."
The UK is not afraid to lead the climate charge, says Boris Johnson
The UK is not afraid to lead the world in the climate charge towards net zero while seeking to inspire Russia and China to do more, Boris Johnson has written in the foreword of the Net Zero Strategy.
"Removing dirty fossil fuels from the global economy will lead to the creation of vast new global industries from offshore wind to electric vehicles and carbon capture and storage," he wrote.
"By moving first and making the United Kingdom the birthplace of the Green Industrial Revolution we are building a defining competitive edge. Through our Ten Point Plan we have already attracted over £5.8 billion of new inward investment in just over ten months, and will create and support hundreds of thousands of new high skilled, high wage green jobs.
"We will meet the global climate emergency but not with panicked, short-term or self-destructive measures as some have urged. Instead we will unleash the unique creative power of capitalism to drive the innovation that will bring down the costs of going green, so we make net zero a net win for people, for industry, for the UK and for the planet.
The United Kingdom is not afraid to lead the charge towards global net zero at Cop26, because history has never been made by those who sit at the back of the class hoping not to be called on. Indeed, as we set an example to the world by showing that reaching Net Zero is entirely possible, so the likes of China and Russia are following our lead with their own net zero targets, as prices tumble and green tech becomes the global norm."
Government set to make final investment decision on large-scale nuclear plant
The Net Zero Strategy pledges to "secure a final investment decision on a large-scale nuclear plant by the end of this Parliament".
It stands up the Telegraph's front page story yesterday, which revealed that ministers will fund a new nuclear power station as part of its green drive.
The document covers everything from shifting away from polluting cars to adopting greener heating in homes and precedes next month’s Cop26 United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.
How Lord Bamford and Sir Jim Ratcliffe are leading the hydrogen charge
The gleaming JCB hydrogen-powered digger had been ferried 150 miles from its testing ground in Staffordshire to press the case for hydrogen to politicians in London.
Standing opposite Westminster Abbey, it managed to draw the attention of the most powerful of them all.
Sweeping in for a visit and photocall outside the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Boris Johnson grinned and joked alongside Lord Bamford, JCB’s chairman, taking hold of the fuel pump and pretending to fill up the truck.
Parked metres away was a green hydrogen double-decker developed by Wrightbus, the Northern Irish bus maker owned by Lord Bamford’s son, Jo. It advertised a new partnership on hydrogen between Wrightbus, Ryze - another Jo Bamford company - and Ineos, the petrochemicals giant controlled by Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
Some of the world’s wealthiest businesses and individuals are pushing spending and lobbying on hydrogen ahead of the international climate change conference in Glasgow at the start of November.
Government publishes Net Zero Strategy
The long-awaited Net Zero Strategy - subtitled Build Back Greener - is now live on the Government's website.
It clocks in at 368 pages for those of you who fancy some light lunchtime reading.
Boiler scheme investment will kickstart demand, insists minister
Greg Hands responded to Ed Miliband (see 12.52pm) by saying that the £4 billion energy investment is far from "modest", and the Government wanted to incentivise the take-up of a greener choice.
"I think this [investment] will kickstart demand," he said. "Octopus Energy and others have said they think they can already make heat pumps an equivalent cost to natural gas boilers by 2022.
"In terms of energy-intensive industries, we have our £350 million transformation fund, and on nuclear there is new money announced - there is the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund, £120 million for optionality on nuclear."
Treasury plans nothing like what is needed, claims Miliband
Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, said the Government's plan falls short on delivery and there is "nothing like the commitment we believe is required".
Mr Miliband alluded to a rift between Number 10 and the Treasury, the latter of which is thought to be more sceptical about Boris Johnson's grand projets on climate.
"The Chancellor's fingerprints are all over these documents, and not in a good way. We've waited months for the Heat and Buildings Strategy - it is a massive letdown.
"The biggest single building that could make a difference is a house-by-house, street-by-street retrofit plan to lower bills and ensure security. There is not even a replacement for the ill-fated green homes grant for homeowners. Did BEIS argue for it and get turned back by the Treasury or did he not make the case?"
Mr Miliband noted that what has been announced today does not meet the Government's own longer-term targets on heat pumps, and lamented the lack of steel or nuclear provisions in Mr Hands's statement.
'We are ready for Glasgow'
2021 is a "crucial" year that must act as a "turning point for humanity" on the environment, Greg Hands said.
Hosting Cop26 gives the UK a "huge opportunity to showcase our world-leading strategy", as he compelled other countries to "raise their ambitions too".
"The net-zero strategy will take centre stage in our display, setting out our vision for the UK that is cleaner, greener and more innovative. Mr Speaker, we are ready for Glasgow."
New measures set out to combat climate change
The current price spikes in gas show the need to "reduce our reliance on volatile, imported fossil fuels", energy minister Greg Hands said.
He confirmed a support scheme would be set up to support green business models, and announced 'Track One' economic hubs for new business models.
The strategy will also include a zero-emission vehicle mandate to end the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2030.
The number of trees planted in the UK will be trebled by the end of this Parliament, while funding for low-carbon technologies will also be provided to the tune of £1.5 billion.
In the Heat and Buildings Strategy, meanwhile, the Government has confirmed a £950 million home upgrade scheme, an £800 million fund which will help homes to de-carbonise through local authorities, and the £5,000-per-household boiler upgrade scheme that was trailed last night.
'We know we must act now on climate change'
Greg Hands set out his stall as he started his statement with: "We know we must act now on climate change."
He said that if action is not taken now, the most serious effects of climate change will be seen. Mr Hands noted that growth has risen since the 1990s while managing to cut down on its carbon emissions more than any other G7 country.
"There's still a substantial length of road to travel," Mr Hands said. "We must continue to take decisive action if we are to meet our net-zero targets."
Announcing the Net-Zero Strategy and the Heat and Buildings Strategy, which he likened to the first ever Industrial Revolution, he said the plans will "help the UK to level up and build back better".
Mr Hands said the strategy will support up to 440,000 jobs in 2030 with specialists in low-carbon fuels in Northern Ireland, low-carbon hydrogen in Wales, green finance in London and offshore technicians in Scotland. Echoing Boris Johnson's comments today, he said it would "harvest the power of the private sector".
Booster jabs could take place at places of worship, suggests Health Secretary
Another former Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, asked for some of the pop-up vaccination centres, like the Brent Mosque, to get going with booster jabs so accessibility can be widened.
Sajid Javid took the opportunity to praise the efforts of his predecessor - who has not had the most opportune few days - and said a big part of the success of the UK's vaccine roll-out was thanks to Mr Hancock.
"He's right to point to the importance of access to vaccines, and making that more mobile is exactly the way to do it," he added.
'Huge pressure' on NHS services amid Covid backlog
There is "huge pressure" on NHS emergency services as it deals with the backlog caused by the Covid pandemic, the Health Secretary has said.
Mr Javid was asked by Jeremy Hunt, the chairman of the health and social care committee, about the difficulties facing the health service in its response times.
"What my honourable friend highlights is there are shortages across the NHS, and my friend has mentioned 999 callers," the Health Secretary replied.
"There is a huge pressure at the moment on 111 calls as well and emergency care generally, including ambulance services.
"There's a significant amount of support that has been put in place, especially in the last few months with increased funding. We are setting out a detailed plan coming forward in the next couple of weeks with the NHS setting out what more we could do."
In response to a separate question, Mr Javid reiterated that the Winter Plan depends very much on vaccines, testing and surveillance - "but should we need to do more, there are contingencies".
'Rishi Sunak really knows how to kick companies when they’re down'
You have to hand it to this Government: it seems to have developed a really well-honed gift for kicking businesses in the stomach when they’re scrabbling around in the gutter, writes Ben Wright.
Last week, we learned that the high street, which was reeling long before the Covid pandemic struck, will continue to be bludgeoned by hugely unfair business rates. Now it looks like the Government is thinking about introducing an online sales tax.
This is being pitched as a way of levelling the playing field between the high street and tech behemoths. That’s spin. The Government is actually serving up a double whammy for the retail industry.
Plans to reform the iniquitous business rates system have been kicked into the long grass so many times that they are now little more than a collection of dents and burs. Nevertheless, rumour has it Rishi Sunak is preparing to punt them into the rough once again at the Budget next week.
UK strikes £400m green investment deal with Bill Gates
The Government is teaming up with Bill Gates to invest in early stage technologies to help tackle climate change, James Warrington writes.
It will invest £200m alongside Gates’s clean energy fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures which also plans to invest a further £200m over 10 years.
The investment from the fund’s Catalyst division will focus on projects to scrub carbon emissions out of the air, clean up jet fuel, green hydrogen and battery storage.
The pair announced the funding at this morning’s Global Investment Summit, where the UK is seeking to attract billions of pounds in investment.
Some of the world’s most influential business leaders have gathered for the conference and will be taken later to Windsor Castle to meet the Queen.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures was set up by Gates in 2016 and is backed by some of the world’s richest people, ranging from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma.
Coming up in the Commons
After trailing announcements about its new boiler upgrade scheme, the Government will today put some meat on the bones of its net-zero strategy as energy and clean growth minister Greg Hands addresses the Commons (12.30pm).
This will be followed by a 10-minute rule motion on bereavement leave and pay (1.30pm) and a motion under the Coronavirus Act, which will determine whether temporary Covid provisions are renewed (1.45pm).
The rest of today's business will consist of an Opposition Day debate on business rates (2pm) and a short debate on the regulation of investments in the fossil fuel industry.
'Yesterday was a fitting tribute to Sir David'
The granting of city status to Southend-on-Sea by the Queen was a fitting tribute to the late Sir David Amess, who had campaigned throughout his years as the town’s MP for just such an accolade.
It was also a further example of his extraordinary list of achievements as a legislator without having achieved ministerial rank, nor seemingly ever showing much interest in doing so.
Parliament as an institution has been battered in recent years, beset by scandals over expenses and by acrimony over Brexit. As the cockpit of national debate it has always been a disputatious place, though its debates are conducted within rules of decorum that are rarely observed outside.
Yesterday, it was at its best as MPs set aside their differences to remember one whose life and service were an example to us all.
SNP's vaccine passport scheme in chaos as it can be 'outfoxed by a screenshot'
The rollout of Scotland's vaccine passport scheme has descended into a deeper shambles after it emerged that a key security feature trumpeted by the SNP health secretary does not work, writes Daniel Sanderson.
As enforcement of the controversial scheme came into force, Humza Yousaf was warned that it was left wide open to fraud and abuse because a safeguard he claimed would protect the personal data of Scots did not exist.
The minister claimed in a major radio interview that it was impossible to take screenshots of information displayed on the passport app, which proves users had received both jabs.
The feature was supposed to stop people obtaining details of another person's vaccination records, which they could then display on their own phones to fraudulently gain access to nightclubs or large events such as sports fixtures or concerts.
However, it emerged that the £600,000 app, which was hit with major technical problems when it was launched late last month, in fact allowed users to easily take screenshots which could be sent to others instantly by email, text or on messaging services such as WhatsApp.
Green energy scheme needs to 'share the costs', urges Ed Miliband
Ed Miliband has said the Government must find a way to "share the costs" across society as Britain goes green.
"A £5,000 grant is all very well, but it's going to help 30,000 households a year. The Government itself says we need 600,000 households a year installing heat pumps by 2028," he told Sky News.
"The problem we've seen is that the pattern is repeated. Because they're not willing to make the investment, because they don't have enough of a plan, it's going to be too slow, too little, too late."
Mr Miliband alluded to Labour's £6 billion-per-year plan to investment in zero-carbon technology and insulation.
He claimed climate change should "take precedence" over the noise pollution and tin boxes in gardens necessitated by the use of heat pumps, as he added: "We are embarking on a massive transition as a country and we think it is the right thing to do. We need a proper plan that needs to happen and it needs to add up."
Whitehall is woefully unprepared for the next big crisis
A hard rain didn’t fall on Whitehall in the end, concludes Andrew Orlowski.
When Dominic Cummings left government almost a year ago, civil servants and advisers could again breathe freely. But two radical ideas for better government and public administration vanished with him, and their absence was keenly felt when Westminster gave its verdict on the UK’s coronavirus response last week.
Cummings had lamented the lack of scientific and technical nous in Whitehall and the inclination towards “groupthink”, meaning poor quality decisions arrived at by consensus.
His solution to what he derided as “Oxbridge English graduates who chat about Lacan at dinner parties with TV producers” was to hire more maths-savvy misfits, and his answer to groupthink was an organisational process: a kind of formalised trolling run by what are known as Red Teams.
This concept originated in the US military, where a red team subjects a strategy or plan to rigorous analysis. The proposition is that the good ideas survive the grilling, but poor ones held together by a group consensus don’t.
'Imperative' that aviation sector recovers, says Shapps
The recovery of Britain's aviation sector within the next year is "imperative", the Transport Secretary has told a conference.
Grant Shapps looked to predictions that global travel will grow significantly as he spoke at an annual event hosted by the Airport Operators' Association.
"That will provide some welcome relief," he said. "So now it's time to look forward to rebooting tourism and trade, to getting the fleet back up in the air where they belong, welcoming passengers back to busy airports, and securing an aviation recovery that is safe and sustainable.
"That's more than a hope for 2022. It's an imperative and one that this Government is committed to achieving, together with you."
Number 10 denies Christmas visit by godmother of Boris Johnson’s baby broke lockdown rules
Questions have been raised over Nimco Ali’s visit to Downing Street during the Christmas period, as Number 10 insisted she was forming a childcare bubble and no rules had been broken, writes Danielle Sheridan.
Ms Ali, an independent government advisor on tackling violence against women and girls and a close friend of Carrie Johnson, tweeted that she had been subjected to two days of “racist and disgusting tweets” after it was reported that she had stayed in Downing Street over Christmas.
This was despite London being placed under Tier 4 lockdown restrictions in December 2020, which prevented most households mixing. There had been plans to ease Covid restrictions for the 2020 Christmas period, however, these were cancelled as the infection rate increased for London and much of South-East England.
Ms Ali is understood to have stayed with the Johnsons, who at the time were engaged to be married, under the “bubble” arrangements, which allowed friends or family to provide informal childcare.
Boiler ban: Will the Government foot the bill for your replacement?
The Government plans to replace gas boilers with green alternatives in the coming years, but many households fear they will be left to pick up the bill.
By 2025 builders will be banned from fitting conventional gas boilers in new-build homes. Mr Johnson will also eventually ban the sale of new boilers.
Instead homes in Britain will likely be heated by heat pumps, which can be prohibitively expensive to install, or hydrogen systems, which are still in development.
Millions of draughty homes will also need to be better insulated in order to preserve energy and keep homes at optimal temperatures. But will you be forced to replace your existing boiler, and how much will it cost you?
'Tiny' heat pump market will grow and grow, vows business minister
A business minister has admitted the market for heat pumps is "tiny" but defended new Government measures as driving innovation.
Lord Callanan told Sky News the 90,000 new vouchers will form just a small part of a £3.9 billion total spend, which will also fund other schemes and initiatives designed to help low-income families go green.
"It's a start in the market," he said. "At the moment there's a relatively small market in the UK for heat pumps and electrification.
"But companies today are very confident with the right subsidy support that they'll be able to bring costs down. We want to incentivise people and show there is a greener, cleaner alternative that will possibly cost them even less to run."
Heat pumps explained: Everything you need to know from cost to efficiency
UK households are being offered £5,000 grants to replace gas boilers with low carbon technologies as part of efforts to cut emissions from heating.
An air source heat pump looks like an air conditioning unit on the outside of buildings, and it works a bit like a fridge in reverse, using electricity to extract energy from the outside air to provide heating and hot water for homes.
There are also heat pumps that draw energy from the ground or water.
Because they are extracting heat from the environment - which they can do even at low outside temperatures - they produce around three times the energy they use, making them much more efficient than a gas boiler.
'We've got to keep 1.5 degrees alive'
Allegra Stratton asked Boris Johnson and Bill Gates what they need to see and hear at the Cop26 summit.
Boris Johnson: We've got to keep 1.5 [degrees] alive. That means we've got to make sure that humanity still has the ability to restrict the increase in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. That sounds like a pretty modest ambition, in reality that's a huge thing to achieve. It would be dramatic for our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren...
How do we do it? Countries have to make bigger commitments to reduce their CO2, the nationally-determined contributions have to be better. We've got a very good attendance despite the pandemic, but the four areas of progress we want are coal, cars, cash and trees. We've already mentioned the cash, you've got to support countries that are a long way off in their ability to put in this technology.
All of the G20 countries need to understand the global solidarity that's needed... that's crucial. We can move beyond coal, we need to do that. President Xi of China made a big commitment to the financing of coal and that's great but we need to move away. By 2040 for everyone, by 2030 for developed nations.
We need to end our dependence on ICE and hydrocarbon with cars, and plant zillions of trees. I can't remember the exact number but it's zillions.
Bill Gates: Part of the beauty of a conference like this is to be honest about the innovations we still don't have. Anyone who expects this conference to say we have everything we need, that's not realistic. But if you look at how far we've come in the last six years, and how innovation is embedded into this gathering... Green hydrogen is ridiculously expensive and these projects will only get us part of the way.
But we need to look at where we still have gaps and force us to solve the problem.
Fusion is still some way off, concedes Bill Gates
Boris Johnson asked Bill Gates whether fusion offered a prospect for humanity as he said it was still 20 years away.
Mr Gates responded that a "low-cost vision" is needed, and there have been some advances on fusion but it remains some way off.
"The optimism you're showing I agree completely," he said. "We've seen in the health realm - whether it's malaria or Covid, there's great things happening there. Here in energy it's a little bit harder because you have to build these big plants, replace every steel and cement factory in the world.
"We have to adapt our thinking a bit but I'm very optimistic. Which is the only way we'll hit zero by 2050, not just in rich countries but in the entire world."
It's the market that will make the difference on climate, says PM
"We can deploy hundreds of billions, but it's the trillions of the market that makes the difference," Boris Johnson told the Global Investment Summit.
"That's why the sermon of the Covid vaccines is so important. This was made possible by free-market capitalists who spent money at risk. What Government has to do as far as we can is de-risk those investments. I think that's going to be the secret of Cop and tackling climate change in the future."
Mr Johnson called for the developing world "to be given the help it needs to de-carbonise".
"In the UK we've been pumping this stuff into the air for 200 years and these countries haven't. These countries are going to need help, but the only way is massive private sector investment."
He was joined on stage by Bill Gates, who said that the technologies of today are unaffordable - highlighting the need for innovation. By "going first" with green projects, the West will drive the costs down throughout the world, he said.
Bill Gates: UK has made immense progress on climate
Speaking alongside Boris Johnson, Bill Gates has hailed the UK's "immense progress" on its reduction of carbon emissions.
"There's these steam engines that drove the Industrial Revolution and that was based on coal. Now the UK which started it all has moved largely away from coal and has policies to support great science and great institutions," he said.
"We're going to take these technologies which are not yet economic. The green premium is very, very high today for the hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuel."
Mr Gates said a range of projects will be jointly-funded from next year onward, and expected all of the new technologies being invested in to be ready to scale within the next ten years.
Johnson's closing sales pitch for UK plc
Now is the time for you to buy into a country that has longstanding and natural advantages as a home for investment, but which is now changing and building on those advantages - moving in an exciting new direction with a green industrial revolution, with new freedoms and a commitment to uniting and levelling up.
Come with us on that journey, and I can tell you the UK Government will be with you every step of the way.
Boris Johnson sings praises of levelling up agenda
Boris Johnson enthused about the need to "level up" at the Global Investment Summit, taking aim at the UK's "grotesquely lopsided economy".
"We are uniting and levelling up with a colossal £640 billion programme of investment, connecting the great urban centres of the north and putting gigabit broadband everywhere," he said.
"We're investing in the skills, skills, skills of the British people, finally tackling the productivity puzzle. We have a great long tale of relative lack of productivity - moving from a low-wage, low-skill economy to a high-wage, high-skill economy but with a commitment to global talent.
"That is the plan - the green industrial revolution, turbocharged by Brexit freedoms united with the commitment to level up the country. We have the right time zone, we have the right language - well I think it's the right language - we have some of the best universities, we have a cultural and media footprint so massive that Peppa Pig , which I know a lot about at the moment, is teaching kids in America to say 'tomato' and 'petrol' and 'mummy'."
'The Qatar of hydrogen'
Britain wants to be the "Qatar of hydrogen" in its green ambitions, Boris Johnson has told a business summit.
"It was the strike price, the idea of a contract for difference, that enabled the private sector to come in with wind power. And that's what we're now doing with hydrogen," he said. "We want to be the Qatar of hydrogen - I think Qatar may already be the Qatar of hydrogen, but we want to be with you."
He added that the Government wanted to pivot to green power by 2035.
"There is a force out there that is stronger than Government, and actually a force that is stronger even than business, and that force is consumer choice," he said to those who think his plans are too much, too soon.
"People know that we have technological solutions to these problems and they want to go green. At the same time we are turning this green industrial revolution into sustained economic growth. To adapt Gordon Gekko, 'green is good, green is right, green works'."
Cop26 must be the moment the Government joins hands with the private sector to set parameters and contracts for difference for green technology, the Prime Minister urged.
World must learn from Covid response in climate change strategy, says PM
The world must take its cues from the coronavirus response to deal with climate change, Boris Johnson has said.
"We've all been worrying that Fukuyama was wrong, and thinking what if the future does not really belong to free societies and open democracies? And the story of the Covid vaccines is a story of what that system can achieve.
"It was free-market capitalism in the great democracies of the world that helped the world to produce the most successful vaccines. That is the formula we must now repeat - innovation, capitalism and a strong Government lead. Because we face a threat to our way of life that is a far greater risk than Covid.
"The lesson of Covid is absolutely clear - we have to listen to the scientists. They're very often right, you know. We need urgent Government action, but we must mobilise the markets. We must bring in the private sector."
Mr Johnson said that while the Government could deploy billions, entrepreneurs and innovators can "deploy trillions".
Characterising himself as the Moses of climate change, he said his ten-point plan has been brought "down from Sinai".
Boris Johnson praises 'sheer improbability' of scientific efforts in last 18 months
Boris Johnson is addressing almost 200 business leaders at the first ever Global Investment Summit, which is being held at the Science Museum.
"When you look at these strange old gizmos and contraptions it's incredible to think they are - like so many in this audience - the cornflakes that got to the top of the packet, they are the winners," Mr Johnson said.
"Think of the TVs that didn't turn on, the rockets that blew up, think of all those inventors in history blubbing in their scorched garages. Think how expensive it is to produce a genuine scientific miracle.
"And then I want you to reflect on the sheer improbability of what humanity has achieved in the last 18 months. We still don't have a vaccine for Aids, we don't have a cure for the common cold. But within a year of the appearance of Covid-19, this lethal new virus with this uncanny ability of transmission, we have forged an entirely new set of armour for our species and it's getting stronger."
Mr Johnson said we can "even shake hands in the old-fashioned way" as a result of the virus being under control, and added that the current supply chain problems are because of the economic rebound.
"We had one other thing that made the vaccines possible - free-market capitalism, the willingness to spend massive sums, at risk, on something that might never come off."
People must be 'cautious' with day-to-day interactions as Covid cases climb and immunity wanes
People must be "cautious" with their day-to-day interactions as Covid cases climb and immunity wanes, Professor Neil Ferguson has warned.
The expert, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) from Imperial College London, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there is "a number of reasons" why the UK currently has higher infection levels than many other European countries.
But he warned that as they rise, the public need to remain cautious, adding: "Nobody likes having their freedoms curtailed by measures but it's prudent to be cautious in everyday interactions - certainly wearing masks helps that, it reminds people that we're not completely out of the woods yet."
Warwick professor Dr Mike Tildesley, who sits on the Government's Spi-M modelling group, this morning pointed to rising hospital admissions but said closing workplaces and imposing lockdowns "really have to be last-resort measures" if other mitigations did not work.
After the misery of last winter and more than 15 months of continuous restrictions prior to Freedom Day, it's little wonder that almost half of all Britons think we will be plunged into another lockdown this year.
Booster vaccines roll-out ‘too slow’
The Government's booster vaccines programme is moving too slowly to protect the most vulnerable, experts warned as figures show that fewer than half of those eligible have received the jab, our Science Editor Sarah Knapton reports.
Estimates seen by The Telegraph show that 22 million people will be ready for their third dose by mid-December, yet at current rates the programme to vaccinate those most at risk will not be completed until the end of January.
On Monday, Downing Street promised to "step up communications" as it emerged that only 3.7 million of the 8.5 million at-risk people who had a second jab at least six months ago have had their third dose. It means 4.8 million are in danger from waning immunity.
Currently, people eligible for a third dose must wait until they are contacted by the NHS before booking a jab.
John Roberts, of the respected Covid-19 Actuaries Response Group, said: "At the start of the booster campaign, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care stated that the aim was to protect the most vulnerable from Covid-19 as we head into the autumn and winter months."
"But at the current rate, it's likely to be towards the end of January before the approximately 22 million that fall into the most vulnerable groups receive the booster.
Only one in 300 households will receive a voucher
Only 90,000 households will get these £5,000 vouchers to ditch their gas boilers - the new scheme announced by the Government today, writes our Political Editor Ben Riley-Smith.
For context, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were 27 million households in the UK last year.
This means that approximately just one in 300 households will be eligible for a voucher.
But Government sources last night pushed back on suggestions the scheme was too limited, saying it was designed to “kickstart” demand for heat pumps - a line echoed by the international trade secretary during her broadcast round this morning.
Government ministers and some energy bosses believe in the coming years, the cost of a gas boiler and a heat pump will reach the same price point.
'While we tie ourselves up in environmental regulations, China is taking advantage'
The years 2020-21 will go down as a great turning point, writes Ross Clark.
First, there was Covid, which may be deemed to be the moment that the locked-down masses of the West recognised the superiority of authoritarianism over democracy. Then came Cop26, the conference at which the West agreed to its own economic self-destruction.
The government’s heat strategy looks like being the same old story: the poor, through levies on their gas bills, will subsidise the rich. As for the ‘green jobs’ we are promised, they will be whisked away to Asia.
It will be Chinese factories that end up manufacturing our heat pumps and hydrogen boilers – just as it is they who have won the lion’s share of the wind turbine business, with seven of the top ten manufacturers based in the country. Why does anyone expect it to be any different when UK manufacturers are saddled not just with higher labour costs but with energy bills swelled by punitive green levies?
Labour: Government's climate plans only scratch the surface
The Government's boiler upgrade scheme only "scratches the surface" of what needs to be done to combat climate change, Labour has said.
Pat McFadden, the shadow economic secretary for the Treasury, called for the Prime Minister to be more "ambitious" and claimed the new commitments fall short of what Mr Johnson had previously promised.
“If we’re going to meet our climate change targets we have to be ambitious in how we do this," he told the Today programme. "So for example on this heat pump thing, Boris Johnson himself set a target of providing 600,000 heat pumps a year. The money announced in this package will provide just 30,000.
“In advance of the Cop26 summit I think not just the country but the rest of the world was looking at what the UK would do. I think that announcement has failed the test of leadership and to match the ambition of what we can do as a country."
Mr McFadden pointed to comments from the Office for Budget Responsibility which warned about the higher costs that could come as a result of not making investments soon enough.
"The announcement made yesterday simply scratches the surface of what we need to do and doesn’t really get to grips with the problem or the scale of the investment needed."
Heat pump roll-out will take until 2036, suggests minister
The roll-out of heat pumps or hydrogen boilers in place of gas boilers will take until 2036, the international trade secretary has suggested.
Asked by the Today programme why ministers weren't going further, Ms Trevelyan said that the measures being being announced represent "a really fantastic first step".
"It will probably take 15 years for all of us to do that. We've already been supporting those who are most vulnerable in social housing, and as you and I make those changes as we transition over the next 10 and 15 years, we will choose a clean energy solution," she said.
"We all need to find ways to make our homes more energy-efficient, that reduces our bills, but also turning to more energy-efficient sources."
Ms Trevelyan said ministers were encouraging the market to drive changes towards green energy amid the Government's refusal to confirm a future ban on gas boilers in the way that it has with petrol and diesel cars.
Downing Street 'backtracking' on climate, claims Green MP
Downing Street has given in to the demands of the Treasury and “backtracked” on its environmental commitments, Caroline Lucas has claimed.
The Green Party MP for Brighton Pavillion said she was shocked by the absence of a clear date by which it will be legally impossible to buy a new gas boiler.
“We all thought that, and now we’re just hearing that the Government is backtracking,” she said. “You can see the impact of an almighty row between the Treasury and Number 10 and the Treasury has clearly won.”
Ms Lucas claimed Britain was lagging behind Italy and France on green energy and said it was an “extraordinary emission” not to include additional funding to ensure that more homes could be insulated.
“We know that heat pumps are only going to work well if your homes are insulated, and there’s not the money in this package to properly insulate homes either. So this is another of Boris Johnson’s big flagship policies but when you start to look at some of the details, they're basically not there."
Ms Lucas also told Sky News that Insulate Britain activists "should be blocking the treasury and not motorists - it's not people on the M25 who are making those decisions."
‘Put costs elsewhere’ to cut heating bills and help households go green, urges energy chief
An energy leader has urged the Government to lower the costs of its net-zero transition by making energy cheaper despite the current price surge.
Emma Pinchbeck, the chief executive Energy UK, said that the fuel crisis presents an opportunity for the ministers to put the additional costs “somewhere else” so more households can afford to go green.
“A very, very simple move that would change how we think about gas boilers versus heat pumps - just make electricity cheaper by putting those policy costs somewhere else,” she told Sky News.
"The other thing to add is there's never been a better time to do that and reduce electricity bills than a time when we're facing an energy price spike and people are really struggling with their bills and will do so through the winter and into the spring."
Cost of boiler voucher programme will fall over time, insists minister
The cost of the Government’s new boiler voucher scheme to consumers will decrease significantly over time, a minister has pledged.
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the international trade secretary, was challenged on the costs for householders of a new upgrade scheme which will give people £5,000 to switch from gas boilers to heat pumps.
“The key point of course is that at the moment the heat pumps are relatively small volumes in production but as more of us take them on and invest in them the cost of production will go down and they will become much cheaper,” she told Sky News.
A total of 90,000 households will receive vouchers to help with the cost of removing their gas boilers under the initial £450 million funding to be announced by the Government today.
The Government will today publish its net-zero strategy as Boris Johnson commits to the 'ambition' of ending the sale of gas boilers in the UK from 2035.
Here is the front page of your Daily Telegraph today.