No major UK sector on track to achieve net zero by 2050, research finds

29th June 2023


The UK government’s legally binding target to deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 is set to fail, with no major sector currently on track to achieve the goal.

That is according to the Aldersgate Group's Net Zero Policy Tracker, published today, which assigns key sectors of the economy with a colour-coded progress assessment.

Industry, heat and buildings and skills are marked as red, indicating a need for “urgent action” to get back on track towards net zero, while power, transport, finance, and nature receive a yellow rating, with these sectors showing some progress.

The report explains how the war in Ukraine and subsequent energy crisis, along with rising inflation, have created a challenging period for the economy, which has slowed progress towards net zero.

This comes just one day after a separate report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) warned that a “lack of urgency” from government is holding the UK back from being able to meet its climate commitments.

Aldersgate Group chair, and former prime minister, Theresa May, said: “I was proud to lead the UK to become the first major economy to enshrine a net-zero target into law.

“Four years on, in the face of international competition and geopolitical instability, the UK must lead by example again by rapidly accelerating delivery towards our climate target. The net-zero transition represents the greatest economic opportunity of the century.

“By building on our leadership in low-carbon technologies and services and delivering emissions reductions at pace, we can drive growth, create jobs across the country, ensure energy security and alleviate the cost-of-living crisis.”

Boosting job creation and energy security has become even more urgent with the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and the EU’s Green Deal Industrial Plan, according to the report.

Without a clear response that provides businesses and investors with confidence, it warns that the UK risks its status as an international leader on climate, at a time when inward investment is vital to drive economic growth across the country and create low-carbon industries.

Yesterday’s report from the CCC also warned that the UK had “sent confusing signals” on its climate policy position to the international community, and that it has undermined the work it had done with its presidency of COP26.

Reacting to the report, Sarah Mukherjee MBE, CEO of IEMA, said: "The committee is calling for a major acceleration of action to deliver a net-zero economy, but this is only possible with enough people with the right green skills and training.

“IEMA is calling for a commitment to scale up green skills and jobs in the UK and for delegates at COP28 in the UAE to prioritise a commitment to green skills and training during the negotiations.

“We have to give the world the best chance of action at the pace and scale needed to avoid climate breakdown.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

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