Government’s Net Zero Strategy Fails in Achieving Targets

In response to a High Court order in July 2022, the government has recently released its long-awaited Net Zero Strategy. This crucial strategy arrives just days after a groundbreaking report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that humanity has a final opportunity to avert catastrophe.

According to the IPCC, global carbon emissions must be reduced by 60% by 2035, relative to 2019 levels, in order to limit warming to 1.5°C.

Furthermore, the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) published a report on March 29th, condemning the government for its “striking lack of climate preparation.” Baroness Brown of the CCC expressed that the past decade has been squandered in terms of adequately preparing for and adapting to the known risks posed by climate change.

Baroness Brown further emphasized that the CCC has outlined a clear pathway for the government to enhance the country’s climate resilience, urging them to take decisive action.

Introducing the Government’s Net Zero Strategy: Powering Up Britain

The government’s recently unveiled Net Zero Strategy, titled Powering Up Britain, serves as a comprehensive roadmap outlining the path towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This ambitious target, established under the leadership of former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2019, necessitates a well-defined and detailed plan to ensure its successful implementation.

The strategy encompasses key areas that require focused attention in order for the UK to attain net zero, including electricity generation, heating systems, energy efficiency measures, and transportation, among others. By addressing these critical sectors, the government aims to pave the way for a sustainable and environmentally friendly future.

What are the major changes?

The Net Zero Strategy brings about significant changes with a strong focus on renewable and low-carbon technology, aiming to reduce energy costs and enhance energy independence by reducing reliance on foreign sources.

However, despite promising rhetoric and indications, the progress towards positive change has been limited.

The strategy lacks substantial new announcements, including areas that the government has previously favoured, such as hydrogen and carbon capture technologies. These areas, which have seen consistent support in recent times, have not witnessed significant advancements or breakthroughs within the strategy:

  • Heat Pumps
  • Making electricity cheaper
  • Onshore wind
  • Offshore wind
  • Solar
  • Insulation
  • Nuclear

Will it make a difference?

The impact of the new Net Zero Strategy on household bills and the legally mandated pursuit of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 is expected to be minimal.

It is worth noting that the majority of funding mentioned in the strategy has already been previously announced, thereby providing limited additional financial resources. Furthermore, a significant portion of the new investments outlined in the strategy is directed towards research and development in hydrogen and nuclear energy.

While the strategy sets out a roadmap and outlines certain measures, its potential to bring about substantial changes in terms of cost reduction or accelerating progress towards net-zero emissions appears to be limited.