An open letter calling for cross-party support for net zero, signed by academics, policy specialists, trade bodies and businesses, has been released ahead of the Climate Debate this evening.
The letter began by alluding to Brexit and the stagnation that has resulted from it, saying: “If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that taking a divided approach to policy making is ineffective.”
It has been signed by 40 people and organisations, including the Renewable Energy Association, the Solar Trade Association, Renewable UK, National Grid ESO and Scottish Renewables.
The letter calls on the incoming government to be “ambitious, coordinated and accountable” in taking action to ensure that the UK meets its net zero target.
“From the outset, the government and the opposition parties, whoever they may be, must work together to forge a path to net zero that is rooted in compromise and goes beyond party politics”, it continues.
The letter referenced climate protests such as the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN) strikes taking place this week. The protests are demonstrating “the principles of unity and cooperation” that are “at the heart of the climate change movement” and making the point that “time is not on our side” and a joined-up, bipartisan approach is needed.
It lauded the cross-party efforts to implement a net zero target of 2050, but called on policy makers to continue with a unified approach and form a post-election pact on climate change “to implement legislation and policy that achieves net zero by the agreed timescales, in a fair and inclusive way”.
It has been released on the same day the very first Climate Debate is scheduled to take place, with the leaders of the Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party, Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party (SNP) taking part. The Conservatives are yet to confirm if they will appear as part of the debate.
With this in mind, the letter finishes: “The UK will be at the centre of the international stage next year as we host COP26, giving the UK national and devolved Governments, and political parties the opportunity to demonstrate this collaboration and cooperation in action.”
This comes the day after the Labour, Green, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Parties took part in an un-televised debate focused on net zero, which focused on how and when the goal may be met, and the role EVs and renewables will play.
With the General Election now just two weeks away, all of the major parties have released their manifestos, including their net zero pledges. The earliest is the Green Party, who are aiming for 2030, while the Conservatives are the latest with its 2050 target.
However, a recent report produced by PwC concluded that the UK’s decarbonisation progress was neither ‘sustainable’ nor ‘sufficient’ to meet it’s 2050 net zero target. The Low Carbon Economy Index showed that the UK will need to reduce carbon intensity by 9.7% a year if it hopes to decarbonise in time.