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The Times for energy efficiency: if not now, when?

Frightening energy bills, inflation, staff and supply shortage. The government and candidates for prime minister are under pressure to do something, anything, about the crises bearing down on us.

Research and campaigns team

The job of columnists in newspapers such as The Times is to hold policymakers to account. This week two of them weren’t impressed, but that’s another story and not our business.

It was their thoughts about short and medium-term energy policy that seemed worth repeating.

Medium-term, Matthew Syed, in The future will be cold and dark if we don’t have a radical rethink* pointed to the absence of energy from economic policy thinking. Not just now but always.

Very strange, he thinks, and regrettable. Our progress from the swamp relied on an ever-growing energy supply that’s now anything but reliable. He makes a strong case for innovative policy and engagement of citizens and voters at every level.

Short-term, Alistair Osborne, in Energy efficiency tip for terrible two** wants to get everyone interested and involved quickly. He has four suggestions:

  • cutting motorway speed limits by 10km (six miles) per hour, as the International Energy Agency proposed in March, that would save 430,000 barrels of oil a day across its 31 member countries
  • running a public information campaign on energy-saving measures
  • making it a national priority to insulate the draughtiest homes of the poor or elderly
  • providing real incentives to install solar panels.

Nothing perhaps to knock your socks off. But that’s the point.

Citizens Advice Make sure your home is energy efficient
Energy Saving Trust Energy at home

* Sunday Times, 07/08/22
** The Times, Business, 10/08/22

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