Zero net: According to a review by a Tory MP, delaying climate action will harm the economy.

In a major review of the government’s net zero plans, a Conservative MP stated that delaying climate action could hurt the UK’s economic prospects.

The government’s climate policies need to be more consistent and ambitious, according to Chris Skidmore’s report.

According to the report, the UK is “falling behind” on some goals and requires a “new approach.”

It calls for 25 actions within a two-year period, including phasing out gas boilers and eco-labeling for food.

The Tory MP who wrote the report, Mr. Skidmore, was hired by Liz Truss, the former prime minister, to examine the government’s implementation of net zero to make sure it was “pro-growth and pro-business.”

The report’s emphasis on the economic opportunities presented by net zero was hailed by some environmental campaign groups, and they urged the government to follow its recommendations.

Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary for Labour, stated that the government’s lack of “urgency and consistency” was “depriving our country of the economic opportunities climate action offers”.

The review itself, according to Green MP Caroline Lucas, did not call for “truly transformative measures to end our dependence on dirty, dangerous fossil fuels,” she said.

According to the government, the UK was the world leader in the fight against climate change and the creation of future green jobs.

The balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere is referred to as “net zero.”

As part of the global effort to avert the worst effects of climate change, the UK has established a legally binding goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

One of the most environmentally conscious Tory MPs, Mr. Skidmore signed the 2050 emissions target into law in 2019 while serving as energy minister.

As part of his process of gathering evidence, he met with politicians, business leaders, and energy experts all over the country for months.

Mr. Skidmore states that the UK “must move quickly” and decisively in order to reap the economic benefits of achieving the goal, describing net zero as “the growth opportunity of the 21st century.”

According to Mr. Skidmore’s writing, “We have heard from businesses that economic opportunities are being missed today because of weaknesses in the UK’s investment environment – whether that be skills shortages or inconsistent policy commitment.”

“Moving quickly must include spending money. We know that investing in net zero today will be cheaper than delaying, as well as increasing the economic and climate benefits.”

He added: “The review recognises we have fallen behind, but it sets out how we can be world-leading in these areas once again. We need to remove the barriers that are in place at the moment.”

The review, whose leaked copy was seen by the BBC before it was published on Friday, stated that “the need for clarity, certainty, consistency, and continuity from government” was a major demand from across the nation.

In addition to establishing long-term objectives, it identifies 25 actions that the government ought to take within the next two years. These are some:
Legislating to phase out gas boilers by 2033, rather than 2035
“Eco-labelling” more environmentally friendly foods to lower carbon emissions
Scrapping planning rules for solar panels
Providing longer-term funding certainty for major net zero projects, including new nuclear power plants
Implementing plans this year to increase solar and onshore wind generation, including a target of increasing solar generation fivefold by 2035
Ending routine oil and gas flaring by 2025, rather than 2030
In his conclusion, Mr Skidmore said the UK was in a “net-zero race” and delaying decisions risked losing jobs, infrastructure and investments to other countries.

The UK, he said, had “reached a tipping point” where the “risks of ‘not zero’ are now greater than the associated risks of taking decisive action on net zero now”.

“This is why we need a new approach to our net zero strategy,” Mr Skidmore writes. “One which identifies stable 10-year missions that can be established across sectors, providing the vision and security for stakeholders and investors.”

Sources in the renewable energy industry told the BBC that the recommendations of the review needed to be “taken forward immediately,” and they added: “The government needs to take the same kind of agile and empowered approach as was used for developing the coronavirus vaccine.”

The government’s independent adviser on climate change said Mr Skidmore had gone “further than anything we’ve published before by highlighting the fact that there’s a risk if we don’t go fast enough” on net zero.

The Climate Change Committee’s chief executive, Chris Stark, told the BBC, “To have that from a Conservative MP is very significant indeed.”

However, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) chief executive Tanya Steele expressed concern regarding the government’s net zero “stop-start” policies.

Ms. Steele stated that the WWF was urging the government to “deliver on its promise to meet the net zero target with a clear strategy”.

Mr. Skidmore’s report “recognises the government progress that has been made to date in working towards legally-binding net zero targets”.

“The UK is leading the world on tackling climate change while also developing green jobs for the future – in fact we’ve cut emissions by over 44% since 1990 while growing our economy by 76%, and our policies have supported 68,000 green jobs since late 2020,” the government spokesperson said.


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