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Hiding Behind Political Correctness is Not Credible

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 24-May-07 04:30:07 AM

"Saving the planet" and "climate change": Two phrases that have become almost synonymous with child-beating, child-molestation and rascism, etc... to name just a few.

Drop any one of those phrases into any debate you are losing and... PING! You win!

Commenting on yesterday's announcement of the the delayed launch of Home Information Packs (HIPs), Mike Ockenden of the Association of Home Information Pack Providers (AHIPP):

In addition, our homes will continue to release the millions of tons of carbon emissions, which were set to be significantly reduced as a result of the Energy Performance Certificates.

Tony Blair, responding to David Cameron in the House of Commons yesterday:

"After all 25% of CO2 emissions come from households. Why are you opposed to this measure if you support EPCs?"

Ruth Kelly, in answer to an unrelated challenge from Michael Gove:

I should have thought that Members on both sides of the House would agree with WWF and Friends of the Earth that EPCs are

“one of the most important pieces of environmental legislation to affect households in recent years.”

I could go on, but it takes an age to find each individual quote using Google - Suffice to say, the tactic of divorcing the opposition from the politically-correct camp of the popular moral good, as if to "dare" the other person to argue against something like the sex offender register, is being employed judiciously to push EPCs into being.

Everytime I hear it rolled-out, I sigh. It's chldish playground behaviour designed to "guilt-trip" the opponent into compliance. It devalues the EPC, in its current build.

We all want to combat climate-change, of course we do. We all want a cleaner environment - Since the beginning of the industrial age, each generation has suffered pollution. We've never been happy with it. Each generation has attempted to clean-up the grime left by the last. It's nothing new.

Action and Reaction

Recycling is an inconvenience, but it has met with little resistance. We were given our coloured bins and we got on with it. With a sprinkling of legislation to motivate those that constantly flout the rules, it's effective, on the whole. It's not based on belief - There is an action and a reaction that we can measure.

The claims that EPCs will cut carbon emissions by any amount - never mind millions of tonnes - is currently premised on belief. There is no chain-of-events triggered by the mere ownership of an EPC in its current form. It's not like turning-off a tap to save water.

Certificates don't cut carbon emissions, people do

If people can't actually experience a direct connection between possessing a certificate, and reducing C02, then there'll be a level of resentment and hostility from the public for "suffering" the imposition of being forced to pay for an unwelcome stranger to enter, and record details of their homes, before receiving their "get out of jail" card.

Within that transaction, there is no C02 reduction - Indeed, quite the opposite.

Bulk-up The EPC

This is why EPCs need "bulking-up" - If people can see there is a direct immediate benefit that is triggered upon certification, then the "guilt-trip" arguments immediately become arguments of real merit and force.

One idea that springs to mind: Coupons.

With each EPC, comes an attached coupon. The coupon is redeemable against energy-efficient products or building alterations to address the issues identified within the EPC. The EPC and coupon could then be passed-on to the buyer to spend, thus maintaining the incentive to buy.

Hey, it's an idea!

Are we serious about this or what?

If climate-change is the real threat to mankind that scientists and Government say it is, then this is a matter of serious national importance. That being so, then the nation has to galvanise as one, not as a divided force. It has even been said to constitute the highest threat to national security. Imagine if we'd have just sold guns to home-sellers who could've afforded them in the last world war?

The EPC, in its current form, will take generations to effect... and even then, not all properties will get rated. There will always be people who never move homes and there will be others who will do nothing and just happen to buy their next home which has a better rating...

... just look at how long we've had double-glazing. Still there are homes without it.

Let's give the Energy Performance Certificate some real triggers-to-action because the current Home Information Pack threatens Govt targets and energy security

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