UK set to backtrack on net zero policies

AFP || Shining BD

Published: 9/21/2023 6:21:12 AM

The UK is set to backtrack on policies aimed at achieving net zero emissions by 2050, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak suggested on Tuesday, setting up a possible rift in his party.

Sunak is due to make a major speech on Friday, but said Tuesday in a statement that while the government was committed to the target, it will try to achieve it "in a better, more proportionate way".

His comments follow British media reports that he was set to water down plans to phase out gas boilers from 2035 and delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars due in 2030.

Sunak said politicians "of all stripes have not been honest about costs and trade-offs" and that he would "put the long-term interests of our country before the short-term political needs of the moment".

The move would trigger dissent within his Conservative Party, with former Cop26 president Alok Sharma warning that "for any party to resile from this agenda will not help economically or electorally".

Other reports suggested that some MPs may even be preparing letters of no confidence should he go ahead with the move.

Labour's shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband called it a "complete farce from a Tory government that literally does not know what they are doing day to day."

Meanwhile, Jess Ralston, Head of Energy at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said the U-turn "would speak of chaos at the heart of government.

"All of this would leave us more dependent on foreign oil and gas, less energy independent and with investors spooked, putting jobs in the industries of the future in jeopardy," she said.

Shining BD