Businesses call on Prime Minister to accelerate climate action

Business giants including Unilever, Tesco, Sky and Coca-Cola have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to develop a clear strategy that will set out a pathway to achieving the net-zero emissions target for 2050 that enables businesses to understand their role in delivering the national ambition.

Businesses call on Prime Minister to accelerate climate action

UK Government urged to meet and surpass its next carbon budgets.

Convened through The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), the businesses have urged Johnson to sculpt a clear climate strategy that is championed from the very top of Government. In particular, the businesses have called for the UK Government to accelerate the pace of decarbonisation and increasing climate ambitions across the entire economy.

The businesses have expressed a wiliness to use their “creativity and innovative capacity” to “redouble” efforts that will assist with the national transition to net-zero emissions by 2050.

CLG Director Eliot Whittington said: “CLG business leaders are issuing a call to Prime Minister Johnson and his government to deliver a clear UK strategy for accelerating climate action. There is an urgent need for strong and robust leadership that can draw all parts of society and politics together to address the climate crisis.

“This year offers us a chance to translate the UK’s powerful track record on climate action into effective policies that can guide the country to net zero by 2050 at the latest. Business’s role in encouraging creativity and innovation to support transformation is evident, and CLG intends to redouble our efforts to support the delivery of a climate neutral economy.”

Off course

The UK is set to miss its fourth and fifth carbon budgets, with projected shortfalls growing by 48% and 25% since the last annual forecast and now equate to 7% 14% of the respective budgets.

With the net-zero target enshrined into law, government, businesses and civil society will have to redouble efforts to decarbonise, with the policymakers set to deliver a plethora of frameworks setting out how this can be achieved.

CLG, convened by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), has published a new paper based on stakeholder discussions outlining key calls to action. Specifically, the paper calls for a clear vision for UK power generation and increased demand for other areas of the economy to electrify. This, the paper states, would lead to the creation of a joint-up strategy for UK transport.

New standards for housing renovations to improve energy efficiency and decarbonising heat are also desired, while businesses want the new Environment and Agriculture Bills to outline approaches to land use that support carbon sequestration and biodiversity recovery.

The businesses have also called for targeted innovation to help decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors that are important to the prosperity of the UK economy. On this point, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) were both outlined as potential decarbonisation solutions for heavy-emitting sectors.

The calls from business come just days after Government revealed that five House of Lords committees will quiz government representatives and external climate experts on topics ranging from internal carbon markets to climate impacts on migration, in a bid to strengthen preparations for the COP 26 climate summit.

Additionally, reports have emerged that the Government’s long-awaited 30-year National Infrastructure Strategy (NIS) is to be delayed again, citing beliefs that the £100bn strategy could be revamped to account for the UK’s net-zero emissions target.

In related news, ocean charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has announced His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, as its new Patron. SAS has been a driving force in creating awareness of and promoting solutions to ocean litter, with a particular focus on plastics. 

Matt Mace

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