‘Tougher measures needed’ for the UK to reach net zero by 2050

A new report claims the next decade is vital in the journey to net zero and warns the UK is not on track

Big Zero Report 2023

The UK government must enforce tougher measures if the country is to reach net zero by 2050.

That is the conclusion from E.ON’s new report, which claims the UK’s current trajectory will make its 2050 carbon goals unattainable.

It emphasises the importance of the next decade in persuading the nation to take greener measures, as well as introducing more stringent regulations and clarifying policies.

The report’s 10 policy requests are:

  • Developing a more detailed roadmap to net zero, which provides concrete dates for certain milestones to be met, such as ensuring housing meets energy efficient standards or when cities must ban the use of fossil fuel vehicles.
  • A sell-by date for gas boilers to help the public, as well as manufacturers and installers prepare for a low carbon future.
  • Tougher regulations to ensure all new buildings are zero-carbon.
  • Ensuring householders understand the help they are entitled to – preventing suppliers of low quality so the public have more confidence to invest in a more efficient home.
  • Providing further incentives for households to act; a communications campaign to enlighten the public on the positives of a cleaner future.
  • More recognition for small businesses and what they need to do to become more energy efficient.
  • Specifying the actions homeowners need to take during the next decade to decarbonise their homes based on personalised information.
  • The need for a carbon price on fossil fuel heating and removing policy costs from electricity bills to make electric heating cheaper and stop customers paying twice.
  • Creating a sustainable protection framework for industry as it decarbonises, increasing financial support and existing incentives – prompting bigger businesses to make the necessary changes.
  • The accelerated rollout of district heating, which can provide 20% of the country’s heating needs with clarity on where it is needed and who should deploy it.

Chief Executive Michael Lewis stated: “The next decade will be critical if we are to meet 2050 targets. The decisions we take in the years between now and 2030 will determine whether we are able to gain sufficient momentum to achieve success.

“If you ask people whether they want a cleaner, more sustainable future, the answer will invariably be ‘yes’. In that regard we are, as a nation, together in a shared purpose. What most people do not know is at our current pace, we have not got a hope unless government catalyses faster tangible change.

“Getting to net zero carbon by 2050 was always going to be a challenge, even before COVID-19 sent the world economy into turmoil. But the decisions we take, the investments we make and the path we follow in the next 10 years will decide whether we are on the right road to meet the goal.”

A government spokesperson commented: “We all have a part to play in tackling climate change, building on our existing success which has seen us slash emissions over the last three decades faster than any other G7 nation.

“The UK was the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to climate change by 2050 and we are powering forward with the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to drive a green industrial revolution.

“This will mobilise £12 billion of public investment to create and support up to 250,000 highly-skilled green jobs in the UK and attract over three times as much private sector investment.

“Through our Energy White Paper, we are transforming the Britain’s energy system from one that was historically based on fossil fuels to one that is fit for a net zero economy, setting our country on a trajectory that will see us have overwhelmingly decarbonised power in the 2030s.”

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