UK to review delivery of net zero strategy
The UK government has commissioned an independent review into the delivery of its 2050 net zero emissions strategy, in light of the security of supply concerns posed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February.
The three-month review, to be led by the former UK energy minister Chris Skidmore, is the latest energy policy announcement by prime minister Liz Truss, who replaced Boris Johnson as leader earlier this month. A report is expected before the end of this year.
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Whitehall hopes the review will identify "pro-business" and "pro-growth" ways of achieving the UK's legally-binding 2050 target, spurring a green transition in an "economically-efficient way". The 2050 deadline for becoming carbon neutral will not be changed as a result of the review, but Whitehall wants to avoid diverting energy emissions to third-party countries, for instance through higher-carbon energy imports.
Skidmore's review is also expected to recommend ways of boosting UK innovation, investment, exports and jobs associated with meeting the net zero target. And it will look also at the economic costs and benefits that arise with the technologies and policies linked to the UK's green transition.
The previous Johnson government published a net zero strategy paper last year, however Whitehall now argues this is outdated given "major changes to the economic and political landscape". These include Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February and the unprecedented surge in energy prices that followed, resulting in inflation and "huge pressures" on British households and businesses.
Government figures show the UK has reduced GHG emissions by over 44% since 1990, decarbonising faster than any other G7 country. An energy security bill introduced by Johnson's administration in July aims to leverage £100bn of private investment to deliver a low-carbon energy mix, underpinned by diversified sources ranging from hydrogen to offshore wind.
Jacob Rees Mogg, the UK's newly-appointed secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said: "The government remains committed to reaching our net zero emissions targets, but with Russia weaponising energy across Europe we must make sure we do so in a way that increases energy security and does not place undue burdens on businesses or consumers.
"Chris Skidmore’s rapid review will help us identify how best to make that happen, while also ensuring all parts of the UK reap the economic benefits of tackling climate change that I have no doubt will be on offer."