Insanity is, as Albert Einstein himself told us, doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Which brings us to the Labour Party’s idea for British housing.
Recommendation 2: Retrofit almost all of the UK’s 27 million homes by 2030 to the highest energy efficiency standards feasible for each building to reduce domestic heat demand by 23% relative to current levels.
We’ve actually done this before. Twice. So why are we expecting a different answer this time?
But much more than theory or haggling over technical details, we have excellent empirical evidence that a Green New Deal just does not work. It’s been tried, twice, on different sides of the world and it didn’t work either time.
The first time it was Australia. The global recession hits, so as a nice bit of Keynesian pump-priming they figured: Why not insulate the houses of the nation and thereby protect, or even limit, climate change? This plan from the central government meant that every bodger, crook, and incompetent got grants and tax money to ruin houses. They even had a Royal Commission to tell us all what a disaster it was. It is not a usual belief that either Britain or the U.S. have fewer chancers than Australia.
Despite this report, the British government decided to do the same thing. A central plan, with targets, disbursing rivers of tax money, to insulate the houses of the nation. This was then done so badly that there are fears that as many as a million houses have been ruined, and certainly thousands have been turned into entirely useful mushroom farms and not useful dwellings.
They’re insane. But then, you know, they’re the Labour Party.
If you actually want to insulate houses then you change the incentive for the people living in them to change that insulation. You tax domestic heating fuel that is – you know, Lord Stern’s carbon tax? When it actually makes sense for individual people to insulate an individual house then they will do so. And carefully and effectively.