Boris Johnson touted COP26 as “the summit of our generation”, as he hailed the success of the UK’s offshore wind sector and promised to boost nature rewilding efforts over the coming decade, during his closing speech to the Conservative Party Conference this morning. But in an address that was markedly light on fresh policy pledges, the Prime Minister failed to provide much detail on how the government intends to deliver on its net zero goals and made no mention of the landmark 2035 target for building a zero carbon UK electricity grid that was trailed in The Times on Monday. As such, it presently remains unclear when or if the government plans to officially announce the expected target for the UK power grid to be powered entirely by zero carbon energy within 15 years. The lack of net zero policy commitments and details from Number 11 Downing Street this week has sparked concerns that the slew of policy expected in the coming weeks – including the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Treasury’s own Net Zero Review, and the overarching Net Zero Strategy – may not arrive backed by requisite support from the Treasury. In the wake of the PM’s speech today, WWF’s executive director of advocacy and campaigns Katie White said that “a few words on climate and net zero in conferences are not enough without a clear roadmap and funding to match”. “Unless urgent action to tackle the climate and nature crisis is mainstreamed in every minister’s brief and in every department’s spending review settlement, the promises they’ve made will fall flat,” she warned. “Climate and nature were missing from the Chancellor’s conference speech, and if that’s repeated in the Spending Review the Government’s claims to leadership ahead of COP26 will be in tatters.” Yesterday, Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband criticised the “yawning chasm” between the government’s climate pledges and the detailed policies and funding needed to drive further investment in the UK’s net zero transition. “Pledges not supported by policy or investment is greenwashing, pure and simple,” he said.
Business Green 6th Oct 2021 read more »