The Net Zero All Party Parliamentary Group (NZ APPG) has warned that effective climate policy can’t “simply depend on just hoping for the best” with the release of a series of recommendations for the government.
The NZ APPG was created to help accelerate government action to meet net zero by 2050, and brings together MPs and peers from all political parties.
Its latest report – the Net Zero Roadmap – has been created from evidence heard from Parliamentarians, academic experts and business leaders.
While the NZ APPG said it welcomes the net zero by 2050 commitment, it said it is “profoundly concerned about the lack of immediate action, debate, planning and investment commensurate with the scale of the challenge”.
As such, it has stressed there is an “immediate need” to scale up public funding for the transition, with a whole economy approach required. In particular, long-term funding models that minimise the burden on the taxpayer while also maximising opportunities and minimising burdens for small and medium sized enterprises and disadvantaged regions should by developed.
Additionally, the government needs to invest in incentives and communication to trigger public support and behaviour change, with transparency being key to this. The APPG said that policies must not only be effective, but seen to be effective in delivering net zero.
Emphasis was also placed on the importance of retrofitting for decarbonising existing homes and buildings. Green retrofit must be responsive to and reflect unique local circumstances, the APPG said, while regions and cities must be empowered to deliver, with many of the actions required for net zero being under the control of local authorities.
Retrofit initiatives to have come from the government in recent years includes the £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant, which provided vouchers for the installation of low carbon technologies including heat pumps, energy efficiency measures and solar thermal.
Meanwhile, the Mayor of London has recently committed £51 million through the Warmer Homes scheme for the rollout of energy efficiency technologies including insulation, ventilation and heat pumps across the capital.
The NZ APPG's recommendations follow the publication of its 10-point net zero action plan in 2020, which called on the government to develop a clear and systematic roadmap for net zero, align its corporate finance programmes with net zero and enhance electricity demand response tools and incentives for consumers and industry to increase grid management flexibility, improve efficiency and allow higher renewable energy penetration.
The 10-point action plan also called on the government to develop an ambitious net zero hydrogen strategy, support the commercialisation of carbon capture and storage and carbon removal technologies and overhaul building standards and incentives to ensure that existing and new buildings are brought in line with net zero.
Since the publication of the APPG's 10-point action plan, the government has released its Heat and Buildings Strategy, which included £3.9 billion of new funding for decarbonising heat and buildings alongside the government's plans to work with industry to reduce the costs of heat pumps so that they cost the same to buy and run as fossil fuel boilers by 2030.
Likewise, the Future Homes Standard - which sets carbon emissions reduction requirements for new build homes - is to come into effect from 2025.
Alex Sobel MP, chair of the Net Zero All Party Parliamentary Group, said he is now calling on the government to adopt the APPG's recommendations in full, and put the "necessary urgency and finance in place to achieve them".
"Achieving net zero will not be without its challenges. But with bold leadership and vision, the UK can lead the way on the road to net zero," he said.