AT a time when people are already worried about rising bills caused by the worldwide surge in gas prices, Sun readers need to know the Government are on their side and that we recognise their concerns.
That’s why I insisted from the start that our plan for getting the UK to net zero had to be not only effective but also fair.
After all, at next month’s COP26 climate change conference I’ll be telling world leaders that it shouldn’t be the poorest nations that are left holding the bill for cleaning up our planet — and things should be no different here at home.
So while we’re going to have to make some pretty major changes to the way we heat our homes, the Greenshirts of the Boiler Police are not going to kick in your door with their sandal-clad feet and seize, at carrot-point, your trusty old combi.
Instead, we’re going to make carbon-free alternatives cheaper to install so that when you or your landlord next come to replace your boiler — something that usually happens every 15 years or so — it makes more sense to go with a cleaner, more efficient replacement that you know will help the planet.
I realise that, right now, heat pumps and so on are more expensive than the alternatives.
So we’re going to make them more affordable, handing out £5,000 grants and making sure what you pay for green, clean electricity is competitive with carbon-laden gas.
And with most of that electricity soon to be coming from wind farms in the North Sea, or state-of-the-art British nuclear reactors, UK consumers will no longer be at the mercy of sudden price rises caused by global markets.
So we will protect consumers while going green.
For years, going green was bound up with a sense that we have to sacrifice the things we love.
But we are going to build back greener without a hair shirt in sight.
In years to come we will still be driving cars, flying planes and heating our homes, but our cars will be electric, gliding silently around our cities; our planes will be zero-emission, allowing us to fly guilt-free; and our homes will be heated by cheap, reliable power drawn from the winds over the North Sea.
And everywhere you look, in every part of our United Kingdom, there will be jobs. Good jobs, green jobs, well-paid jobs levelling up our country while squashing down our carbon emissions.
Sun readers need to know the Government are on their side and that we recognise their concerns
We will avoid catastrophic climate change not with panicked or self-destructive measures but with the uniquely creative power of free enterprise, driving down the costs of going green so that net zero will become a net win for families, businesses, the UK and the planet.
History has never been made by those who sit at the back of the class hoping not to be called on.
And Britain has never been afraid to lead the charge.
When the UK was confirmed as the host of COP26, the countries signed up to net zero or carbon neutrality accounted for less than a third of the global economy.
Today, partly because of our leadership, that figure is over 80 per cent and rising.
As we show the world reaching net zero is entirely possible, others are following our example.
And as green tech becomes the global norm, so prices will start to tumble.
History has never been made by those who sit at the back of the class hoping not to be called on
It happened with everything from smartphones to flatscreen TVs. It will happen with clean heating.
Not so very long ago, our grandparents and great-grandparents gathered around the hearth to warm themselves by the coal fire.
Within my lifetime the UK switched from toxic town gas to the safer natural variety on which we rely today.
Change always brings with it trepidation. But by leading the way on net zero we can embrace the opportunities it brings — and set the country on course to a cleaner, greener, fairer future for us all.
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