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Cost of Living

ECIU report: What is the cost of ‘Not Zero’?

04 December 2022

In a new report from the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), the costs to UK households of not reducing emissions to net zero are calculated: this is intended to challenge criticisms of the costs of net zero policies by making clear that not taking action has greater economic consequences.

The report argues that climate impacts are costly to the UK economy, and delays to the rollout of renewable energy and insulation schemes also mean households incur costs they needn’t be incurring: these are the costs of not zero

If the UK had not delayed in deploying renewables, insulation, rooftop solar panels, heat pumps and electric vehicles, some households could have saved around £1,750 on bills in 2022. Plus, homes are facing more than £400 extra in food bills this year because of the impact of climate change and oil and gas prices on the farming and food system. This amounts to a potential £2,150 added to household bills.

Reference article:

  • Date: 6th December 2022

The latest from the Cost of Living timeline:

Opinion Insight 21st February 2024

Survey: Three quarters of the public are worried about the impact of climate change on their bills

In a survey of 2000 people carried out by Opinium, on behalf of Positive Money, 75% of UK adults were concerned about the impact of climate change on the cost of heating or cooling their home, while 69% were worried about the impact of grocery prices, 54% on the price of housing or rent, 74% on electricity costs, 68% on the cost of water and 59% on transport costs.

These concerns about ‘climateflation’ show that the perceived impacts of climate change are not confined to changes in the weather (although these are becoming more noticeable to people too).

Climate Barometer data backs this up – concern about the impact of climate change on household bills was the third most common choice behind ‘harm to nature and wildlife’ and ‘suffering and hardship for the world’s poorest’.

Separate analysis investigating the cost of ‘not zero‘ (i.e. not pursuing net zero goals fast enough) by the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) supports people’s concerns: households really are facing higher bills because of a lack of action on climate change. Their calculations reveal that cumulative savings of £70bn on the UK’s energy bill could have been made had investments happened over past decade.

The Positive Money report emphasises that these climate-linked costs are disproportionately felt by lower income households.

Climate Barometer Tracker 10th November 2023

Tracker data: Majority of public think climate inaction will cost too much

Despite having concerns about the costs of climate change, and the cost of living, people in the UK have a clear understanding of the trade-offs necessary for climate action. Despite minor shifts, a majority still feel that it will cost too much *not* to tackle climate change now. A smaller percentage (23% in our most recent wave)  say that “it will cost too much to tackle climate change now”.

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