UK sets out Net Zero Strategy – will it be enough?

Boris Johnson has revealed the Government’s Build Back Greener plan for the UK to reach its target of being net zero in carbon emissions by 2050.

Speaking at an investment conference in London the Prime Minister announced a raft of measures to help the country move forward to reach the promised 78% cut in CO2 emissions by 2035, and net zero by 2050.

The measures include…

  • £450 million to provide £5,000 grants to 90,000 homeowners to replace their gas boilers with air source heat pumps. In 2020, 1.7 million gas boilers were installed in homes across Britain.
  • £620 million for electric cars and charging points.
  • £620 million for tree planting and peatbog restoration.
  • £140 million for Carbon Capture and Storage projects.
  • £120 million for small nuclear reactors. Rolls Royce is leading the development of these modular nuclear reactors.

The overall plan includes £26 billion of government investment in a ‘green industrial revolution’ that the government claims will support 190,000 jobs by 2025, and 440,000 by 2030, while leveraging up to £90 billion of private investment by 2030.

Boris Johnson said the plan will require “innovation, capitalism and a strong government lead” to succeed.

The Government very much hopes that the plan will encourage and stimulate large companies to invest in green techonologies and a green future.

While the plan has received a broadly positive response from the likes of the CBI, it has received a much more lukewarm reaction from academics, opposition politicians and environmental groups.

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said the plans amounted to only a “tiny fraction” of the £28bn-a-year pledge offered by Labour, and that the plan had been “torpedoed by the Treasury”.

Manchester University climate change professor Kevin Anderson said the strategy fell short of the commitments entered into by the UK at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, stating “The UK’s total carbon budget is more in line with 2.5-3 degrees of warming than 1.5-2.”

Greenpeace UK described the Net Zero Strategy as “more like a pick’n’mix than the substantial meal that we need to reach net zero”.

Friends of the Earth criticised the strategy…

“Riddled with holes and omissions, this strategy falls a long way short of the bold action plan needed to decarbonise the UK”.

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