Call for evidence launched for businesses and public to provide views on Net-Zero Review

The Government has launched a call for evidence for businesses, local authorities and the public to provide views on the recently announced net-zero review and how it help organisations overcome key decarbonisation challenges.

Call for evidence launched for businesses and public to provide views on Net-Zero Review

New Prime Minister Liz Truss’s promised review of the UK’s plans to reach its 2050 net-zero emissions commitment officially launched at the start of the week, with a focus on ensuring the transition boosts economic growth and is not at odds with energy security.

The three-month review is being spearheaded by Chris Skidmore MP. Skidmore served as a Minster of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from December 2018 to July 2019, then again from September 2019 to February 2020.

He has played an important role in opposing the so-called Net-Zero Scrutiny group of Conservative MPs who argue that the cost of the transition will be too high. The Climate Change Committee (CCC) previously priced the transition at 1-2% of GDP, before amending this to 0.5%-1% of GDP in light of falling cleantech costs.

BEIS has confirmed that the first stage of this three-month review has launched today (29 September), calling on the public and businesses to provide evidence and views on how the green transition can be shaped.

The call for evidence will examine the opportunities, challenges and measures required to support the net-zero transition through the lens of “economic growth and job creation” and what can be done to support businesses and consumers to help cut emissions. The Call for Evidence can be accessed here.

Chair of the Net Zero Review, Chris Skidmore MP, said: “Everyone in the country has a stake in the UK’s transition to net zero. It doesn’t matter if you live in Argyle or Aberystwyth, Carlyle or Canterbury, our lives will need to change, whether that means the way we travel to work, heat our homes or run our factories.

“The decisions and actions we take today will impact consumers, employees and businesses alike, in cities, town and rural communities all over the country. That’s why I want to hear the views of as many people as possible over the next month. I want to ensure that net zero isn’t just viewed as the right thing to do for our environment, but becomes an essential driver of economic growth – and a win-win for Britain and the world.”

BEIS has stated that it will examine which approaches are the most “pro-business, pro-growth and economically efficient”. It also wants to better examine the economic costs and benefits of emerging technologies deemed necessary to the transition.

BEIS has stated that the UK’s 2050 target, which is legally binding, will remain in place. However, BEIS has stated an intention to “make sure investment continues to… increase energy security”. Truss’s approach to this issue so far has focused heavily on fossil fuels produced onshore and offshore in the UK, worrying climate analysts and green campaigners.

Earlier this year, the High Court ruled that the Strategy is “unlawful”, as it does not detail measures significant to decarbonise any sector of the economy in line with the UK’s 2050 target and interim carbon budgets. At the ruling in July, the Court ruled that the Strategy needs to be refined and re-issued by the end of March 2023.

One key issue with the Strategy is that of jobs and skills. The UK Government has pledged that there will be two million green jobs domestically by 2030, but the Strategy details the creation of some 440,000. Added to the existing jobs in these fields, there is still a gap of more than a million roles.

BEIS notes that progress towards net-zero has been strong to date. The UK has grown its economy by 76% while cutting emissions by 44% since 1990. Official Government statistics also show that more than 400,000 are employed in low-carbon sectors, with turnover estimated at £41.2bn in 2020.

The Government also claims that its much-maligned British Energy Security Strategy and the under-review Net-Zero Strategy aim to leverage an additional £100bn of private investment, while supporting an additional 480,000 British jobs by 2030.

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