“Net zero is allowing us to say the status quo isn’t acceptable”

In this week’s Net Hero Podcast, we spoke to MP, Chris Skidmore, who recently published his book, Mission Zero

Big Zero Report 2023

Net zero isn’t a burden.

This is what Chris Skidmore, the man wrote the 2050 target into law said in this week’s Net Hero Podcast.

‘Even if there wasn’t a climate crisis, which there clearly is, we should be doing net zero anyway for the opportunity it presents to drive new efficiencies, new ways of doing things, new productivities, new opportunities to create jobs and growth.

‘But ultimately it’s about how do you create the environment in which the markets can emerge and flourish? Because these things happen [when] they just reach an economic price point and a utility point where it’s the right thing to do.’

The former energy minister also made it clear that no one should be left behind in the energy transition.

‘By all means, let’s go further, faster for those that can but for those that can’t, let’s not break them, let’s not criticise the situation they find themselves in and let’s work out a plan.

‘It’s really important because when it comes to net zero, there is a sort of recognition that we can’t just do this individually by ourselves.

‘We need to move together. The caravan needs to all move in one direction. And the whole point around a caravan is it takes the weakest link with it. It doesn’t leave them trailing behind.’

He added that a one-size-fits-all solution won’t work.

‘There are different pathways, there won’t be a one size fits all solution for different areas. It’s having that ability to recognise what is going to work in Teesside may not work in Bristol but you’ve got to be locally led.

‘And that’s where I also think there’s confidence for SMEs, because SMEs don’t necessarily trust politicians like myself in Westminster. They do trust local authorities more.

‘And understanding that you can ring someone up and potentially there might be someone on the ground who they can see face to face or they can actually have the opportunity to engage with more regularly is really important for building trust and confidence.’

The minister said that for small businesses to flourish in a net zero environment, two things are necessary.

‘The first is to make sure that we have these long term programmes. So if you look at elsewhere in the world, they’re beginning to recognise you can’t just have these small pots of money, these competitions, which they’ve got a window to apply for. It needs to be part of the fabric of the constitution.

France is now doing something called MaPrimeRénov and this is going to be open for at least ten years. The inflation reduction act in the United States where credits are guaranteed to the 1st January 2033. And in the UK, at best, we’ve now got the boiler insulation scheme running to 2028.

‘And then, secondly, how do you build consortiums, how do you build groups by which they could achieve finance? And that doesn’t exist at the moment.’

You can order Chris Skidmore’s book, Mission Zero: The Independent Net Zero Review on https://www.bitebackpublishing.com/books/mission-zero for more information on net zero policy. Use our code ‘ZEROM’ for a special discount.

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