5.09.2022 Cost of living and net zero: competing realities Big challenges are never easy to solve, and let’s be honest we’ve had plenty to endure and overcome over the last few years with the combined impact of Brexit, the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, increasing energy costs, rising inflation, and the horrendous cost of living increases….and if that wasn’t enough, nature has reminded us of another competing reality – our climate emergency! Stark reminders remain clear to see: • Extreme floods in Pakistan have claimed c.1300 lives and directly impacted 33 million people• UK temperatures reached new high of 40.3 Degrees Celsius• Wild fires in UK burnt homes to the ground• First hose pipe ban in Yorkshire for 27 years• Spain suffering worst drought for 500 years Pit those realities against the likelihood that 12 million UK homes could soon be in fuel poverty, alongside increasing business failures and inflation getting to 15%, and we have historically tough dilemmas to reconcile. But having made it through the pandemic, we now need our Governments to remain bold, decisive and supportive to ensure we address all of these challenges. Supporting families and businesses as well as addressing climate change requires huge central support and stimulus, because without it, the outcomes are catastrophic. Reducing energy demand through better insulation of our ageing building stock provides both immediate and long-lasting benefit, whilst increasing our use of renewables will ensure we meet our statutory net zero objectives, as well as creating many thousands of new jobs too. We can do this!