The review agreed with the core points that we made in our written response to the Call for Evidence in October.
We highlighted that not only could the net zero transition create a stronger economy, in fact there are risks to the UK economy of not capitalising on the green transition. Despite our early advantages in technological development and innovation in the financial landscape, we could fall behind international competitors if we don’t keep up the momentum.
Our survey of members noted again and again that the key barrier to net zero is government indecisiveness, which leads to consumer confusion and disengagement, and corporate energies being directed elsewhere. The review proposes ‘guardrails’ – certainty, continuity, clarity, consistency – all of paramount importance if we are to deliver on net zero.
We raised the issue that access to data is crucial for corporate and individual decision making, and the review echoes this, calling for more detailed reporting from government, including on progress indicators for emissions and economic impact, as well as the co-benefits (or disbenefits – where action is delayed) which are currently known but under-measured and under reported.
A central recommendation in the review is that the government gets behind the work that the Green Jobs Delivery Group is undertaking to ensure that there is a workforce in place to deliver low carbon transition. We welcome this and as a representative on the group we are well placed to ensure that this happens.
We were of course delighted to see the review noting that the amelioration of the natural environment is critical for economic prosperity as well as for the improved health and social well-being required to actually live well in a wealthier society.
Within the sector specific details of the review, we were pleased to see firm recommendations to bring forward planned net zero regulations on new buildings’ emissions, and to push ahead with decarbonising transport.
The review is a detailed, realistic and pragmatic survey of the current status of the net zero transition. It acknowledges that spending review cycles of around 5-years are not always fit for purpose for projects requiring such an enormous shift across the whole of society and spanning out to 2050.
It conveys a sense of urgency too, noting that timeliness is fundamental, but that time is currently slipping away unmeasured and unmonitored. Most people in the climate sector have a sense that we mostly know exactly what needs to be done, and that we just need to get on and do those things.
However, this is about more than not letting perfection get in the way of progress, it is about getting on with progress where we already have perfect information, and simultaneously refining the technology in areas where we do not.
The real test of this report will be the government’s actions in response. The government must act with speed to consider the findings of the review and recalibrate the UK’s strategy for achieving net zero so that industry can get on with the job of delivery.
Posted on 13th January 2023
Written by Chloë Fiddy
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