This isn’t strictly speaking a ‘landlord and tenant’ related book – but landlords and tenants will be affected by the approaching climate crisis as much as anyone. We all need to do what we can and this book sets out a roadmap for us to follow.
Although it’s really aimed at government and the larger corporations – we can as citizens agitate for action.
Chris’s message is that we need to decarbonise our society by 2050. This is going to be difficult but it does look as if, if action is taken now, this could be possible.
Here is an outline of the main points made in the book (the landlord related suggestions are mine):
Chris suggests that we should massively invest in renewable energy – which is getting cheaper all the time. He suggests 20x our current capacity. This will provide all the energy we need, and the surplus can be stored in batteries or used to create hydrogen which can cover energy needs when the weather is uncooperative.
The hydrogen can also be used for heating and to create synthetic fuels – for example, aviation fuel.
There needs to be a massive project to retrofit all our elderly homes. Chris suggests it would be most efficient to do this on a street by street basis with components manufactured off-site and then transported to the buildings. This will be very expensive but will result in happier, healthier people reducing the cost to the National Health service.
Probably the best place to start will be Local Authority and social housing.
Needless to say, all new buildings should be carbon-efficient which will mean an early amendment to our out of date building regulations.
Happily, it looks as if hydrogen can be used instead of ordinary gas for heating homes, so if you are installing a new gas heating system make sure it is one which is ‘hydrogen ready’. A quick search on the internet shows that they do exist.
Alternatively, if all heating is electric then if you use a green energy company (such as Ecotricity), your heating will have zero emissions – particularly once we are able to make all electricity 100% renewable.
This needs to be electrified. However, making cars in itself has a high carbon footprint so car sharing and public transport should be encouraged wherever possible.
I have already suggested elsewhere that landlords can encourage electric vehicles by providing charging points on their properties (where possible).
As we are constantly being told, we need to move away from meat to a plant-based diet. Landlords could perhaps help by encouraging tenants to grow food in the gardens and by planting fruit trees.
Apparently, the fashion industry and manufacture of clothes are hugely damaging to the environment so we should all buy better quality clothes and hang on to them for longer. One-off posh outfits for special occupations can be rented.
Or you could do what we do which is try to avoid posh events altogether …
6 Building materials and fertilisers
Most of these, in particular, cement, are very damaging.
Suggestions are to refrain from knocking down and rebuilding unnecessarily and to use more wood in construction. The excess hydrogen created in 1 above can also be used in manufacturing.
7 Woodland and trees
As we all know, we need to massively increase the woodland in the UK which has significantly less woodland than other European countries.
Landlords can help by planting trees in gardens and hedges wherever possible.
8 Collect carbon dioxide from the air
It would be nice if we could have special machines flying through the air sucking up carbon dioxide at one end and extruding diamonds at the other but I fear that is not really a practical possibility. Any scientists reading that are probably already rolling on the floor laughing.
However, it does look as if carbon capture is possible and Chris discusses the schemes already underway in the book.
9. Carbon taxes
These are really important, not least because it will mean that it will incentivise large fossil fuel companies to switch to developing zero-carbon energy solutions.
People may not like this but getting these large companies on side is massively important as they are best placed with their enormous resources to make real progress in the switch to global carbon neutrality. Carbon taxes will allow them to justify this otherwise uneconomic activity to their shareholders.
It is probable that we will not be able to cut our emissions in time. Which means that if we are to hold the planet temperature down, some form of geoengineering will be necessary.
So it is important that proper research and development is done in this area.
We have to deal with the climate emergency. Not just for the planet. But for us. The planet will still be here in 10,000 years but we may not.
Now is the time to start and this book sets out a good and sensible plan for the UK. I hope that copies will be sent to the PM and the cabinet and that they will read it. Thankfully (unlike America) we have a leader who is capable of reading a book.
It is actually a very easy read – I finished it in about 2 days. I think everyone should read it (you can buy it here) and it could also usefully be used in schools. Schoolchildren are after all the ones that are going to have to deal with the mess we older people leave behind.
A good read and a good plan. But we need to do it.