Former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore has today released a review of the Government’s approach to delivering its net zero target, highlighting the scale of the opportunity, the economic and environmental benefits, and warning that more must be done to fully embrace “the growth opportunity of the 21st century”.
The ‘Mission Zero‘ review is thought to be the largest national engagement on Net Zero to date, bearing in mind recommendations from more than 50 roundtable sessions and the thoughts of over 1800 organisations and individuals who answered the call for evidence.
Commissioned in September by the then Secretary of State for Business and Energy Jacob Rees-Mogg, the review explores the scale of the opportunity and the benefits to individuals and the economy, emphasising that the Government’s climate related policies need to be more consistent and ambitious to achieve the Net Zero goals and more effectively combat climate change. It also contains recommendations on actions required to achieve these goals by 2050.
The Chair of the Net Zero Review, Chris Skidmore MP, said:
“We should be proud of the lead the UK has taken in tackling climate change, having exceeded expectations so far in our race to net zero emissions by 2050. As essential as that is environmentally, it also puts us at an economic advantage globally.
“We lead in areas including clean technologies, science, manufacturing and green finance – areas that, if managed right, can lead to new jobs and strong economic growth.
“In developing this report, we have engaged with communities, economists and climate experts from across the country through more than 50 roundtables and 1800 submissions – all of which have led to the Mission Zero findings.
“My recommendations are designed to make the most of this historic opportunity, covering the length and breadth of our economy, so that people in every part of the country can reap the benefits of this both in their communities, and in their pockets.”
The recommendations voiced by Mr Skidmore in the report include:
- A rapid acceleration on the implementation and use of renewable energy and clean energy systems
- The development of a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy by 2025 to help support the essential upgrades needed to grid infrastructure
- A review of the planning system, with a view to streaming in to allow greater number of renewable energy systems to be deployed
- Incentives for investment in decarbonisation, such as tax and capital allowances
- Far greater emphasis on energy efficiency
- Greater encouragement of sustainable UK biomass production
The report has been widely praised by both the energy and the environmental sector:
Dr Nina Skorupska CBE FEI, Chief Executive of the REA said:
“The Net Zero Review, above all else, makes it clear that the energy transition is as much an economic opportunity as an environmental imperative and that action must be accelerated.
“The REA warmly welcomes the recognition of the need for much more renewable deployment, highlighting the demand for a complete range of renewable and clean technologies to all play their part, as well as the transition to a circular economy.”
“This Review must finally settle any political and economic debate as to why Net Zero is essential. This has to mark a watershed moment, ending political hesitation and offering the catalyst to a cleaner, more prosperous future.”
Merlin Hyman OBE, CEO of Regen said:
“The publication of the Net Zero Review today should be a pivotal moment. An extensive process commissioned by the government and backed by engagement with people and businesses across the country concludes unambiguously that achieving net zero is a huge opportunity that should now be central plank of the UK’s economic and social policies.”
RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail said:
“Setting targets for new onshore wind and solar capacity would certainly increase investor confidence and ensure we can decarbonise our electricity system by 2035,” said RenewableUK’s CEO Dan McGrail.
“The Review rightly underlines the vital importance of using a wide range of renewables to strengthen Britain’s energy security, including innovative technologies like floating wind, tidal stream and green hydrogen.
“It also recognises that deployment of these technologies hinges on timely investment in port infrastructure and reform of our clean power auction system to grow the UK’s renewable energy supply chain.”
Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Professor Lord Stern of Brentford, said:
“Chris Skidmore and his team deserve great credit for carrying out a rigorous, robust, and inclusive review of the evidence on the economics of the UK’s net-zero transition. In particular, the review has argued convincingly that the transition to a net-zero economy is the growth opportunity of the 21st century, and the UK is well-placed to benefit from the increasing demand for net-zero goods and services, if it makes the right public and private investments.
“It also correctly highlights the critical importance of government creating an environment that is conducive to this investment by providing clarity, certainty, consistency and continuity of policy.
“I hope the Prime Minister and his government will respond to the review with the urgency and scale required to prevent this enormous economic opportunity from slipping through our fingers. This transition, and the investment and innovation it embodies, are at the core of the UK’s growth story for the coming decade.”
The Net Zero review is available to view in full on the Government’s website.