The Weald Action Group has submitted a response to the review of the government’s approach to delivering its net zero target commissioned by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. The aim of the review was “to ensure we are delivering net zero in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth”.
Our response pointed out that the economic growth is not an end in itself as implied by the consultation. Other vital goals are also part of the route to net zero, including:
- an equitable sharing of national wealth,
- sustainable use of our natural resources so that they are available for future generations,
- protecting what remains of our biodiversity and natural world.
Measures that promote economic growth but conflict with these must be modified or rejected.
Our response points out challenges and obstacles in the government’s approach to net zero, including its over-reliance on immature technologies, continued support for oil and gas production and failure to reduce aviation or road transport.
We also highlighted opportunities to stimulate the transition to net zero which also offer business opportunities, including in energy efficiency, electrifying final energy demand, and repurposing fossil fuel infrastructure.
Ann Stewart, who coordinated the response on behalf of WAG, says “A stand-alone goal of economic growth is in danger of obscuring the urgency of our situation. The most recent UN Emissions Gap Report, published 27 October 2022, states that we no longer have a credible pathway to 1.5ºC. Present climate commitments, both national and global, are on a pathway to a 2.8ºC temperature increase by the end of the century. We have to act urgently. Emissions reduction has to be the main focus of net zero policies.”
“The most secure energy is the energy we don’t use. We have to accept that our net zero commitments have to mean we use less energy. The recent war in Ukraine has highlighted how vulnerable our dependency on fossil fuels makes us. The profits made by oil and gas companies during this crisis also demonstrates how much they have to lose. We need to resist their lobbying. There is little time left to manage reductions in demand and it requires a commitment from government to do so.”