When it comes to climate change and Britain’s green future, the prime minister talks a good game. Boris Johnson has flamboyantly predicted that the UK would become the “Saudi Arabia” of wind power, heralded a revolution for hydrogen fuel and promised a green economy that would deliver hundreds of thousands of jobs. As ever with this prime minister, well known for his tendency for “boosterism”, there is the lurking suspicion it is all hot air. Now it is in writing. In a critical report on the government’s net-zero and adaptation targets, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) gave a detailed description of the gaping chasm that exists between rhetoric and reality. Running to almost 500 pages, the report states that policy has not matched the ambitious targets set by ministers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Long-overdue green policy packages for critical areas such as transport, hydrogen and housing have been repeatedly delayed. Meanwhile present proposals, which centre mostly around offshore wind and hydrogen technologies, fall far short of what is required. As it stands, the government will cut only a fifth of the emissions required to hit the sixth carbon budget, which commits it to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035. “Almost all things that should have happened,” Lord Deben, the CCC chairman, summarised, “have either been delayed or . . . haven’t hit the mark.” The lack of a coherent strategy could have global consequences. As the host of this year’s Cop26 summit, the world is looking to Britain for climate leadership. Bluster will not suffice.
Times 25th June 2021 read more »
An online survey of just under 7,000 members of the UK public was carried out to explore public perceptions of climate change and net zero.
BEIS 24th June 2021 read more »