Are White Plumbers Endangering Net-Zero in Britain?

Tom Finnerty03 Feb, 2023 3 Min Read
Help wanted.

The Telegraph reports on a growing concern (among whom? "Experts" of course!) that the U.K.'s surplus of Caucasian plumbers is endangering the country's ability to hit their net-zero targets, and thereby save the world from "climate change."

Plumbers have an image problem that may derail the Government’s net-zero ambitions, experts have warned. Replacing gas boilers and switching to heat pumps is a central tenet of the Government’s ambitions for the U.K. to be carbon neutral by 2050, and the installation will largely be done by upskilling current gas and oil boiler installers. But almost all plumbers are middle-aged white men close to retirement, a government report has found, raising concerns that there will not be enough competent installers to reach the Government’s goal of 600,000 heat pumps being installed every year by 2028.

The study, by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), found that... “if the same recruitment practices and promotional activities continue within the sector, the pool of potential employees recruited to grow the sector may be restricted and the lack of diversity may persist.”... Mica May, co-director of Stopcocks Women Plumbers, told The Telegraph that the industry “is not presenting an attractive face” for prospective plumbers.... “Only when we have enough workers... who properly represent the wide variety of people in the U.K., will there be space for the innovation we need to meet net zero."

Some background: we've previously discussed the fact that three successive governments in Britain -- all ostensibly Conservative, mind you -- have committed to (and even passed legislation mandating) the U.K.'s achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050. A central plank of this plan is a "20-fold increase in the number of heat pumps installed annually by 2028," despite the fact that less than 1 percent of British homes are currently heated with heat pumps, and for good reason -- they are roughly three times more expensive than the much more common gas boilers. We further noted that "They also take up a lot more space, are more expensive to operate, and work best in well-insulated houses -- not exactly Britain's strong suit." All of which is to say, the U.K.'s heat pump obsession is madness.

But this government report fretting about the racial make-up of the plumbers needed to install the new equipment is next-level lunacy. It has all the earmarks of a social panic -- around both race and the environment -- especially in a country whose population is 80 percent Caucasian, and much less ethnically diverse (contra the national self-image presented by the BBC) than the United States.

Plumbing is one of the great cornerstones of civilization, and the work of plumbers is nothing short of heroic. The dearth of young men entering the profession in the U.K. is concerning, as it is here in the U.S. And these so-called "experts" aren't wrong to suggest that that pumping up the numbers will likely require combatting existing prejudices.

But it is the content of those prejudices which they are confused about. Young people on both sides of the pond have been force-fed propaganda about the necessity of receiving university educations for their entire lives. These programs are, generally, pointless at best and destructive at worst. Much better to challenge young people to consider training for noble, and often well-remunerated blue collar jobs such as plumbing instead. Mike Rowe, host of the TV show Dirty Jobs, has been making this case for years, and would be a worthy model.

The inability to engage the issue outside of liberal pieties is a sign of intersectional brain worm. Consequently, their push to change the face of plumbing to "properly represent the wide variety of people in the U.K." will fail just as surely as their heat-pump scheme and their net-zero plan itself. It couldn't happen to a nicergroup of people.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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