Wednesday 15 November 2023

Government’s short term plans risk UK’s net zero, MPs warn

Government’s short term plans risk UK’s net zero, MPs warn

MPs have expressed concerns about potential risks to the UK Government's target of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, citing a lack of long term planning.

That's according to the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) report, which emphasises the potential repercussions of the recent decision to delay the phaseout of new fossil fuel vehicles and heating systems, urging a more strategic approach.

The report highlights concerns about the government's short term plans for supporting net zero technologies, jeopardising the necessary private investment.

The PAC also criticises the failure to consider long term public investment levels, essential for meeting the 2050 target of a two to threefold increase in low carbon investment annually.

The PAC's inquiry reveals challenges related to clarity and support for businesses and consumers, citing difficulties in accessing public sector funding.

The report expresses concerns that the government's focus on developing new technology may neglect practical challenges faced by consumers.

Additionally, it identifies oversight and transparency shortcomings in supporting net zero innovation, with no designated entity for oversight and a lack of a clear mechanism for reporting progress on crucial technologies.

Dame Meg Hillier, Chair of the PAC, said: "Our committee has warned time and again of the damage that can be done to delivering policy by the lack of long term planning and funding from government.

"There is no more critical area where this is true than on net zero. If the government continues to leave businesses to peer through a haze of uncertainty, then that investment will not be forthcoming. Businesses and consumers need certainty.

"On supporting innovation for net zero, the government needs to agree with itself on what success looks like, what failure looks like, and report transparently on progress. Such basic building blocks being absent four years after a pledge critical to our very way of life was made is disappointing."

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson told Energy Live News: "The UK is a global leader in clean energy having attracted £200 billion in low carbon investment since 2010, with a further £100 billion expected by 2030 – powering up Britain and supporting up to 480,000 jobs.

"On top of this, we are investing £4.2 billion into long-term research and innovation to develop the net zero technologies of the future.

"We lead the world in tacking climate change, cutting emissions by nearly 50% since 1990 and decarbonising faster than any other major economy as we continue to drive forward our net zero ambitions."

Written by

Sumit Bose

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