Homeowners could be forced to replace their gas boilers to ensure the UK meets its target to be carbon neutral by 2050, ministers are warning.
The Government will publish a White Paper later this year which will set out the “bigger decisions” that the UK has to make to meet the target.
Lord Duncan of Springbank, the Climate Change minister, said that the White Paper will consider whether the Government should ban gas central heating altogether from all homes.
It is not clear if homeowners will have to pay for this new strategy – which is planned to be introduced incrementally over the next decade – and whether there are enough plumbers to carry out the work.
It comes after Ofgem, the gas regulator, said last week that Britain will have to change “the way homes and businesses are heated” to ensure the UK can hit its target.
The Government will set out the radical plans in the months leading up to the COP 26 environmental summit in Glasgow later this year.
Last June the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050.
Lord Duncan said that to hit this target the Government was now looking at a new “domestic decarbonization approach” to hit the target.
He said “There will be an overarching energy White Paper that will look at the bigger decisions that we have to take. Decarbonizing domestic heating will be a real challenge. Shall we electrify the entire grid?
“If we do so, bearing in mind that electricity tends to be more expensive, we need to address fuel poverty head-on if that is the case. Or are we looking at putting hydrogen into the grid in a hybrid or pure form?
“We will resolve that question this year. We will make a decision to determine that and to support the way forward.”
He added: “We will need to do so in tandem with fuel poverty; again, there is no point in decarbonizing while making people cold and sick. We need to make sure we go hand-in-hand with that just transition for all the people.”
The news comes after hybrid car owners were given a “kick in the face” by ministers, motoring bodies have said, as they warned that the surprise decision to ban the vehicles from sale in 2035 will “backfire”.
Lord Duncan also warned that forcing motorists to ditch petrol cars and buy electric vehicles would be difficult because they are too expensive.
He told peers: “We need to look at a decarbonizing strategy ‘inside’ transport. There, we have a challenge that will not be easy to meet because, in truth, most people do not have an electric car, and we are nowhere near the tipping point where that car will become affordable.
“Again, we need to find that tipping point and we have a strategy coming out in order to help us deliver that.”
Last week Andrea Leadsom, the business secretary, said that she wanted “to set a clear steer for every part of our economy during the course of this year that sets out our ambition in wanting to lead the world in tackling climate change”.
A source at the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said that ministers would publish this year a “roadmap for heat policy which will set out the steps required to make key decisions on heat decarbonization in the 2020s”.
It said that there “are a number of options that could play an important role in decarbonizing heat, including heat networks, heat pumps, hydrogen, and biogas.
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