I spent the last fifteen months looking at industrial decarbonisation in the UK. A lot of that time was spent interviewing people (civil servants, ex-civil servants, policymakers, trade association types, practitioners). It was a lot of fun (ymmv).
One thing that was obvious before, and more obvious during, was that there is the “fun” (ymmv) phase of devising and announcing policies, often while wearing a hard-hat and a hi-vis jacket, and then there is implementation.
And even if there had not been hilarious (in the abstract, if it were happening in some ‘banana republic’ – markedly less funny, or even, seeable when it is happening in a Civilised Place where People are White and Speak English, none of this Johnny Foreigner nonsense) “turbulence” in the political system over the last couple of years, implementation would still be very very tricky.
This is, after all, a super-wicked problem – lots of moving parts, lack of agreement on size/scale of problem, its’ getting worse quickly and the things we are doing to ‘solve’ it are contributing to the problem.
So, two things I’ve noticed that inspired this post.
Last week five different trade associations that ‘do’ energy – Renewables UK, Energy UK, Scottish Renewables, Nuclear Industry Association and Solar Energy UK sent a joint letter to Jeremy Hunt. You can read about in in this piece by Sarah George, writing for edie.net.
Meanwhile, a Tory MP who is standing down at the next election, and who recently wrote a “Net Zero” review is warning, well –
There are all sorts of plausible/fancy words that policy wonks, or people who are wonks about wonks (academics) use to describe this situation, about policy salience, cognitive limitations, agenda-disintegration (okay, I made that last one up). These words will be a great comfort in ten years, when, in the aftermath of Avian flu, various industrial disasters, civil war and Scottish independence, we look back on what might have been, but for it all being too difficult. IT’S ALL JEREMEY CORBYN’S FAULT. Don’t ask me how, it just is…
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