Disinterest in climate change at odds with businesses and voters, Rishi Sunak told

A letter signed by the likes of Amazon, Centrica and British Steel has today (19 July) been sent to the Prime Minister ahead of Parliament’s summer recess.

It states concerns that, without a renewed focus and commitment to the delivery of a sustainable future from the Government, the UK will be “left behind” as other nations surge ahead as leaders in green products and services.

Sunak and his team have been warned time and again in recent months that investors looking to back green technologies are most likely to consider the EU, US and China, thanks to a more favorable policy landscape. The UK is not set to ready its own fresh green economy package until this Autumn, but businesses are seeking some clarity in the meantime.

Just this week, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that the UK may miss up to £57bn of economic opportunity this decade without a modern industrial strategy focusing on clean energy and transport.

The new letter today states: “As some of the UK’s largest businesses, representing sectors across the economy, we see the UK’s climate commitments and net-zero transition as a massive economic opportunity.

“We plan to invest billions into the low-carbon economy because we know it is crucial for future prosperity, and because we know it is the right thing to do for the future of our planet.

“It is in the interests of our businesses, the UK’s economy and the public that net-zero remains a national priority.”

A key moment

Businesses signing the letter include Associated British Ports, Anglian Water, Aviva Investors, BP, Cemex, EDF, Engie, E.ON, Greene King, Ikea, Interface, JLL, Johnson Matthey, Kingfisher, Mars, Marks & Spencer, New Look and Nestle. More than 100 orgainisations are backing the open letter.

It is being sent shortly before key by-elections later this week, after which Parliament will break for summer recess. Timing is also important in that the UK Government has been rapped over its climate plans repeatedly in recent weeks.

The Climate Change Committee’s recent progress report to Parliament concluded that the UK is not on track to achieving its 2050 goal and has strayed further from an affordable, well-managed transition in the past year.

CCC advisors pointed out particularly weak policymaking in sectors including heavy industry and agriculture, plus a patchwork approach to improving building energy efficiency.

Shortly after this report was published, Zac Goldsmith stepped down from his role as the UK’s Minister for climate and environment on the international stage. His resignation letter accused Sunak of being “apathetic” towards climate and the environment.

Goldsmith said he felt unable to do his job due to opposition and apathy among peers.

The Government has denied this and pointed, once again, to its targets set in 2019 and to its progress in decarbonising power.

Comments (1)

  1. Patricia Prabhu says:

    Climate Change is the most important issue we face. It impacts all other aspects of life and wellbeing.

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