A Conservative MP has said delaying climate action risks damaging the UK’s economic prospects, in a major review of the government’s net zero plans.
The report by Chris Skidmore says the government’s climate policies need to be more consistent and ambitious.
The UK is “falling behind” on some targets and needs a “new approach”, the report says.
It calls for 25 actions within two years, including food eco-labelling, and phasing out gas boilers by 2033.
Mr Skidmore – the Tory MP who wrote the report – was commissioned by former prime minister Liz Truss to review the government’s delivery of net zero, to ensure it was “pro-growth and pro-business”.
Some green campaign groups praised the report for focusing on the economic opportunities of net zero and urged the government to heed its recommendations.
In his conclusion, Mr Skidmore said the UK was in a “net-zero race” and delaying decisions risked losing jobs, infrastructure and investments to other countries.
The UK, he said, had “reached a tipping point” where the “risks of ‘not zero’ are now greater than the associated risks of taking decisive action on net zero now”.
The revamped Conservative proposals will see what was being referred to as “green day” by Whitehall staff rebranded to “energy security day”, with more of a focus on fossil fuels.
According to The Guardian, Thursday could see the Government confirm the licensing for a huge new oilfield named Rosebank off the coast of Shetland, using the argument that it is needed for investment in carbon capture and storage technology.
The proposals will also fail to bring in a 2025 flaring ban for oil and gas firms despite it being one of the 130 recommendations made by Tory MP Chris Skidmore earlier this year.
There will be no office for net zero – also one of Skidmore’s calls – and no compulsion for solar panels on new housing. Plans for a UK-wide programme of home insultation improvements, campaigned for by groups like Insulate Britain, will not be included.
[and the BS continues … an expansion of oil and gas destroying the planet spun as it’s exact opposite.]
This is the second report this month to call for a ban on flaring in the next two years. A cross-party report by the House of Commons environmental audit committee made the same recommendation on 5 January.
Mr Skidmore was commissioned by the former prime minister, Liz Truss, to review UK proposals to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Last year, the government accepted a ruling by the High Court that its net zero strategy was unlawful. The landmark judgement agreed with arguments by Friends of the Earth, ClientEarth and Good Law Project that the strategy failed to show how the UK’s legally-binding carbon budgets would be met.
The review ran to 340 pages and had 129 recommendations.
It said flaring was responsible for 22% of carbon emissions on oil and gas fields. About 70% of oil and gas field emissions were from powering equipment on platforms, it said.
The offshore industry published a Methane Action Plan in 2021 to reduce emissions and flaring. This committed the industry to a 50% methane emission reduction by 2030, compared with 2018 levels. Shell has committed to zero routine flaring by 2025.