A substantial step forward or a huge disappointment? Green economy reacts to the Net-Zero strategy

The UK’s Net-Zero strategy is finally here, but the reaction to the national decarbonization plan ranges from those who believe it provides much-needed clarity for businesses to others who claim it is far from enough to drive all parts of the economy to net zero. by 2050.

edie sums up the initial positive reaction and those who stayed wanting more urgently

So the Net-Zero strategy is here, and not too soon. A few days before COP26, the British government unveiled a broad and comprehensive strategy describing how the nation will decarbonize in order to reach net zero by 2050 at the latest.

The 368-page document describes how spending will be prioritized to generate job growth while reducing emissions from transportation, electricity, heavy industry and the built environment.

The policies and spending presented in the Net Zero Strategy mean that since the introduction of the Ten Point Plan last year, the government has introduced more than £ 26 billion in net zero geared capital investments.

The strategy says this will support up to 190,000 jobs by 2025 and up to 440,000 jobs by 2030, and mobilize up to £ 90 billion in private investment by 2030.

But does it offer enough insight and clarity to give confidence to green groups and businesses to invest in net zero solutions and markets? The response has been overwhelmingly welcoming, but not everyone is convinced it goes far enough.

Here, edie sums up the initial positive reaction and those who remained in search of more urgency, clarity and ambition on the road to reaching net-zero.

POSITIVE

Chris Stark, CEO of the Climate Change Committee

“We didn’t have a plan before, now we do. This is a substantial step forward that clearly articulates the government’s ambitions to reduce emissions across the economy over the next 15 years and beyond. It provides much more clarity on what lies ahead for businesses and individuals and on the key actions required in the decades to come to create a Net Zero nation. It also gives the UK a solid base to be chair of the upcoming COP26 summit. The next critical step is to turn words into action. We have started to assess the strategy in more detail and to what extent the policies proposed in this strategy are delivering their ambition. “

Eliot Whittington, Director, UK Corporate Leaders Group (CLG UK)

“This is a bold response to the climate crisis indicating both the UK government’s commitment to reducing climate impacts and transforming our economy. As we move towards the G20 and COP26 summits, the Net Zero Strategy sets a high standard for others to emulate,

“The extent of the issues included shows an understanding of the systemic nature of the threats we face where every part of daily life, Britain’s economy and infrastructure has a role to play in protecting us from the worst climate changes. This range also demonstrates the enormous opportunities for innovation, job creation and skills development to rebuild greener and put the UK on track to meet its ambitious climate goals. The level of investment described in the 350-page document is significant.

“There is no doubt that this is a positive step for the UK, but the magnitude of this step, providing a level of certainty for the economy to move rapidly in tandem, has yet to been fully analyzed. “

David Smith, Managing Director of the Energy Networks Association, which represents the energy networks of the UK and Ireland

“The Prime Minister has made it clear that customer choice is central to the Net Zero strategy. The variety of technologies developed and deployed for heating, transportation, buildings and industry provide this exact choice.

“With regulations to support early strategic investments, our energy grids will unlock Net Zero by connecting these technologies and ensuring the right infrastructure is in the right place at the right time. “

Bruce Davis, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Abundance Investment

Abundance is pleased to see the Net Zero Strategy recognize the importance of helping the public contribute to the financing of our Net Zero future, and the role that Abundance is playing in this regard, alongside the Green Finance Institute, through a new type of municipal investment – Local Climate Obligations. These will provide a low risk, fixed return investment for citizens to mobilize their money to help tackle climate change in their region. “

WANTING MORE

Frances O’Grady General Secretary TUC

“The UK can be a world leader in creating good green jobs. But this strategy is a huge disappointment. The government has failed to implement many of the key recommendations of its own task force on green jobs – just two weeks before hosting the United Nations climate change conference.

“This is not the way to show global leadership – it is self-sabotage. Today’s spending commitments will do little to close the yawning investment gap needed to preparing UK industry for net zero Unless ministers do more to sustain and decarbonise energy-intensive industries, hundreds of thousands of jobs in UK manufacturing and supply chains will be at risk. We cannot let this happen.

Nicolette Bartlett, CDP Impact Manager

“The UK’s new net zero strategy should be a bold, comprehensive and forward-looking political element that ties the government’s green ambition together, but it should be seen as the minimum of what needs to be done.

“The strategy reflects the dynamic of business progress that we have seen this year and outlines a policy that aims to reduce emissions, combat climate impacts and reverse ecosystem degradation. Along with the Net-Zero strategy, the next steps for mandatory sustainability disclosure in the UK are expected to be announced, beyond the current TCFD roadmap. “

Darren Jones, President of BEIS

“The government is failing to recognize the scale and pace of change required to meet our climate change goals. Ministers can’t just re-announce the same promises and list them all with a repackaged name – they need a real strategy that defines the important role the state must play in our net zero transition.

Katie White, Executive Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at WWF

“We are finally seeing the UK government set a positive vision for net zero, sending a clear signal to every sector of the economy on their role, but we still lack the full set of policies and increased funding for it. bridging the gap between climate promises and actions.

“With COP26 fast approaching, the Prime Minister cannot afford to stop there – he must ensure that every department builds on this ambition, including the Treasury. The Chancellor must step up her efforts and ensuring that public finances support the transition, adopting a net zero test for government spending in the next spending review. The UK cannot afford to stand still – every climate promise must be kept. future generations will not forget, and they will not forgive those who do not act while there is still time.

Chris Turner, Campaign Director, Better Business Act

“The government’s Net Zero strategy comes at a critical time for businesses and global leaders in the fight against climate change. Government commitments are needed to shape the direction of the transition to Net Zero, but we will only get there if businesses fully embrace it and receive the support they need to do so.

“To create a green industrial revolution, we need to anchor net-zero in the DNA of UK businesses. This means updating our corporate law so that business decision makers are empowered to make the decisions necessary to decarbonize, aligning profitability with the interests of society and the environment. The Better Business Act, an amendment to section 172 of the Companies Act to bring shareholders’ interests in line with environmental goals, would change that. Our coalition of nearly 800 companies is urging policymakers to take this into account in the next audit and corporate governance reform so that UK businesses are aligned with the government’s Net Zero goals. The amendment would transform the way Britain does business so that every company owns its environmental impact, removing obstacles to what must be a united fight against climate change. “

More reaction to follow

Matt Masse

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