Environmental Audit Committee to quiz government on net-zero targets

The EAC is due to assess the government's own internal ambitions to be net-zero across all departments

The move, which follows the government signing off on a 2050 net-zero target, will focus on the government’s estate and procurement processes – and what action is required to achieve the goals within the next thirty years or sooner. The work will incorporate the EAC’s previous inquiry that it conducted on Greening Government Commitments.

The EAC is now requesting written evidence by 15 August on three key columns: achieving a net-zero government; leadership and partnership on the issue; and is the government following its own advice.

Evidence can be submitted through the EAC’s net-zero government inquiry page here.

Questions that the EAC are asking for evidence on includes:

Net zero government:  

  • What must be done to achieve a net zero government?
  • What time frame is required for government to achieve alignment with net zero emissions?
  • What challenges might government encounter as part of this process? How could these be overcome?
  • How should net zero targets be set, monitored and enforced?
  • What must government do to ensure a just transition and decent work as it moves its estate towards net zero?

Questions relating to how the government will lead by example, how it can report on and reduce its water use and carbon footprint will also be raised. Further analysis into the Road to Zero target for low-emission vehicles will also be explored.

Chair of the EAC Mary Creagh said: “It’s not enough for the Government to talk the talk on net zero emissions by 2050, it must walk the walk and lower its own emissions to tackle the climate emergency.

“We’ll be examining how the Government sets and performs against its own targets, such as ensuring its fleet of vehicles are ultra-low emissions, reducing waste and water use.

“Ministers must lead by example in setting out and delivering policies which can meet their ambitious targets. We have declared a climate emergency. Now is the time for Ministers to say how they will tackle it.”

The inquiry comes as questions were raised about the £1trn cost estimate of establishing a net-zero carbon economy by the Common’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee.

James Evison

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