A cross party group of MPs has called on the government to ‘scale-up’ its efforts to reach net zero, by implementing its ten point action plan.
The Net Zero All-Party Parliamentary Group (NZ APPG) welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Summer Statement, which included a Green Homes Grant, but said that it was clear that to get the UK on track to reach net zero by 2050, more needed to be done.
“We know there is no longer any trade-off between what is good for our economy and what is good for our climate,” Alex Sobel MP, chair of the NZ APPG, wrote in a letter to the Chancellor today (21 July).
“Given the enormity of the COVID-19 pandemic and the net zero challenge the government must implement an immediate, more expansive and ambitious green recovery package to accelerate economic growth, create jobs and reduce emissions.”
The NZ APPG has set out an action plan made up of ten points, the most expansive of which concerns a green recovery. This should include a focus on green-job creation, prioritisation of energy efficiency and decarbonised heat and maximising local impact.
Additionally, green infrastructure and technology development should be incentivised through both strategic seed investments and ensuring regulatory environments prioritise areas such as electric vehicle (EV) charging, renewable and low carbon energy and energy storage, amongst others.
Beyond recovery recommendations, the action plan calls on Sunak to establish a clear and systematic Net Zero Roadmap, complete with interim targets and robust implementation, review and governance arrangements.
Flexibility should be increased to allow for more renewable energy generation to come onto the system, by enhancing electricity demand response tools and incentives for both consumers and industry.
The government should bring forward the ban on the sale of new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to 2032 the letter continues, and set interim EV sales targets. There are increasing calls to bring forward the ban, with the UK Electric Fleets Coalition calling on the government to bring the ban forward to 2030 last week.
The letter also calls for a ‘Carbon Takeback Obligation’ for fossil fuel extractors and importers that would see them required to permanently store an increasing percentage of the CO2 generated by the products they sell.
Nature-based emissions reductions should be incentivised, a cross-departmental review of building standards should be launched and a major communications and awareness campaign should be embarked on to build support for a green recovery and galvanise action.
“The time to act on our recommendations is now,” the letter finishes. “Our Net Zero Action Plan provides the foundations for a Net Zero Roadmap to give business, industry and the community clarity on how it will achieve net zero and boost the economy.”
The NZ APPG’s recommendations echo those made by a number of companies and groups recently, including the UK100 group of local leaders who have called on the government to establish a Net Zero Development Bank to help drive the country towards net zero and ‘build back better’.
The Aldersgate Group set out a four point action plan for the government in its recent Rebuild to Last report, asking it to commit to low carbon stimulus to ‘deliver lasting and positive change’ in the wake of COVID. Whilst SSE and ScottishPower have both produced action plans, highlighting the need for electrification of transport and the creation of green jobs in particular.