Energy bills for millions of UK households could rise to £3,000 per year by October due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as the gender ISA gap doubles in a decade. Meanwhile, India is yet to submit any emissions reduction targets following its ambitious 2070 net zero pledge at COP26, around 175 countries are to draw up the first-ever global pact on plastic pollution, and Germany aims to meet all its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2035. It’s the Good With Money weekly newsbrief.
Household energy bills could hit £3,000 amid Ukraine conflict
Energy bills for millions of households could rise to £3,000 per year by October due to the Ukraine conflict, experts have warned.
The prices of wholesale gas and oil have soared by 28 per cent during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, leading to predictions of a £600 to £1,000 hike in domestic bills.
This is expected to cause further hardship for those already struggling to heat and light their homes. On 1 April, the average dual fuel bill is already set to increase to a record £1,971. This is likely to rise by a further £600 to £1,000 when the regulator Ofgem reviews the maximum rate that suppliers can charge in the autumn.
Gender ISA gap doubles in a decade
Women have around £3,000 less in their ISAs than men, new figures reveal.
The biggest gender difference is in the type of ISA, with recent statistics from HMRC showing that 4.4 million women invest in a cash ISA, compared to only 785,000 in a stocks and shares ISA.
As stocks and shares tend on average to outperform cash over the long-term, women are paying the price for sticking with cash. Men have an average ISA holding of £30,089 while women hold an average of £27,098. This results in a gender ISA gap of £3,000, up from £2,812 a year earlier, and almost doubling in a decade from £1,550 in 2008/09.
Ahead of International Women’s Day tomorrow, Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said that “despite the super-human effort women are making to build their savings,” the gender gap is widening as they’re “hampered by the fact so much of it is in cash.”
India yet to submit emissions targets, months after net zero pledge
Four months after India announced its ambitious pledge to reach net zero by 2070 at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, it has yet to submit any targets for cutting emissions.
Indian environment minister Bhupender Yadav has downplayed the delay, saying that several ministries are “still discussing the matter to chart out a roadmap.”
During November’s COP26 summit, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country would reach net zero by 2070, 20 years after the US, and 10 years after China. He said that India would increase its current capacity for non-fossil fuel electricity to 500 gigawatts and use energy from clean sources to meet half of its needs.
India’s inaction highlights the challenges it faces in achieving these goals. A parliamentary committee calculated that it would need at least $20 billion (£15 billion) in investment to meet its clean energy targets, but only half of that is thought to be available.
First ever global treaty to tackle plastic pollution
Around 175 countries are to start negotiations on the first-ever global pact to tackle plastic pollution.
UN members will meet this month to draw up an over-arching framework to reduce plastic waste across the world.
The planet is awash with discarded plastic that is destroying habitats, harming wildlife and contaminating the food chain. Eleven million metric tons of it ends up in our oceans each year, a figure that’s expected to triple by 2040 unless production and use of throwaway plastics such as drinks bottles, delivery packaging and grocery bags are reduced, multiple scientific studies show.
Supporters describe the move as one of the world’s most ambitious environmental actions since the 1989 Montreal Protocol, which phased out ozone-depleting substances.
Germany sets 100% clean energy target for 2035
Germany aims to fulfil all its electricity needs with supplies from renewable sources by 2035 – accelerating its previous “well before 2040” deadline.
An interim target has also been set for wind and solar to account for 80 per cent of electricity generation by 2030.
Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck described the stepped-up goal for renewable energy as a key element in making the country less dependent on Russian fossil fuel supplies.
With the country under growing pressure to reduce its reliance on imported gas from Russia, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has referred to renewable electricity sources as “the energy of freedom”.