The UK has set a target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050 under a climate pledge, involving a transition to a green economy. But the energy crisis is reportedly causing a major setback as bosses are said to be gearing up to slash investments in lower-energy plants and machinery, electric vehicles, and wind turbines or solar panels. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned that three in 10 firms responded to its survey saying such spending will be “paused or halted entirely” unless Government steps in to cut industry costs.
Matthew Fell, the chief policy director at CBI told The Independent: “Cost and cashflow pressures affect the net zero investments they would like to be getting on with – something has to give.”
He added that the “harsh economic reality” is scuppering businesses’ commitments to net zero, despite bosses’ “hearts and minds” being fully behind it.
But while climate campaigners have stressed the importance of slashing emissions to avoid a catastrophe, with an international panel of scientists warning of a “code red” that can only be averted unless Governments act now, net zero is not without its critics.
When CAR26 Director Lois Perry was asked “why we are even bothering” with net zero on GB News, she responded: “We shouldn’t be.
“The public doesn’t want it. Tory voters don’t want it – according to our polling 70 percent don’t want it.
“Nobody wants it. The times, the mood, has changed. There is a zeitgeist…people are questioning the science now and they are seeing that it is really dodgy and people aren’t prepared to pay for it.”
There is also a group of backbench Tory MPs opposing net zero who form the Net Zero Scrutiny Group.
The group’s chair, Craig Mackinlay, has said the Government should “pause for breath before running further and faster to a Net Zero electoral disaster based upon uncosted fairytales”.
However, Governments across the globe have net zero commitments, from members of the EU even to China.
Westminster’s climate advisors, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), have also stressed that “we need to act urgently across the whole of society and influence” to transition to a net zero economy.
“We have already supported 68,000 green jobs, boosted the UK’s energy security by generating more renewable power and attracted £22billion of green investment last year.”
But Shadow Climate Change Secretary Ed Milliband has hit out at the Government, claiming the CBI’s report is evidence of “an absentee Conservative government asleep at the wheel”.
He said: “It is intolerable that the Conservatives continue to offer no solutions to this crisis, and oppose Labour’s plans to freeze energy bills this winter, insulate homes, and deliver the clean energy sprint we need.”