Climate policies are set to weaken after the UK’s Prime Mininster, Rishi Sunak announced that he was slowing down several key policies that are needed to help the UK transition to a green and sustainable economy.
This has come as a shock to many, especially as the UK Government have already been taken to court twice, the second time was in June this year (2023), to discuss its “feeble and inadequate” climate policies and strategies that were released in its updated version of the Net-Zero Growth Plan.
“feeble and inadequate” climate policies and strategies.
This plan was put in place to help guide the UK on how best to reach net zero with specific climate policies, after the 129 recommendations from Chris Independent Review of the Net-Zero Strategy, that covers a range of sectors within the UK including its nature, infrastructure, finance, and renewable energy sources.
The UK Government has defined getting to net zero as:
“any emissions would be balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage”
The UK’s Prime Minister, however, has announced that the government are planning to weaken several climate policies including the rate in which gas boilers are being phased out, how energy efficient a building needs to be, and the rate in which electric vehicles are put on the road.
Weakening Climate Policies
By 2035, under the previous target, all gas boilers in the UK should be phased out for more renewable and cleaner options. However, the UK Government are in talks to lessen the urgency of this deadline. The new 2035 target is set to become an 80% completion rate, down 20% from the previous target. In previous talks there had been discussions regarding penalties for any landlord who was not complying with the regulations to make their homes more efficient, including the factors within it such as the boiler. Sunak’s government are now discussing scrapping energy efficiency regulations for landlords.
The target has been set for all homes in the UK to have an EPC rating of C or higher by 2035, and in recent news the UK Government has set aside £1 billion to help insulate homes within Britain.
However, the taskforce that was set up to carry out these climate policies, including the increase the phasing out of gas boilers and increase the insulation of homes has been disbanded. The £1 billion set aside still stands, although the Home Energy Efficiency Taskforce set up in May this year (2023) will no longer be a part of this.
After the announcement of this disbandment a representative from the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero stated:
“We have invested £6.6 billion in energy efficiency upgrades this Parliament and will continue to support families in making their homes more efficient, helping them to cut bills while also achieving net zero in a pragmatic, proportionate and realistic way.”
In a report carried out by the BBC, a source was close with the department’s taskforce, who wishes to remain anonymous stated that:
“This taskforce was meant to help that – if government is shelving it because recommendations are too challenging for them, then it runs contrary to what the PM said about helping ordinary people and being honest about difficult choices.”
The target for banning of the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles to increase the use of electric vehicles, or EVs, was initially set for 2035 under Boris Johnson’s time as Prime Minister. However, in 2020, this was brought forward by five years to 2030, due to the UK wanting to show that they were world leaders in the transition to a cleaner world, as the build up of COP26 began. Rishi Sunak has now announced that this deadline will be pushed back to its initial 2035 deadline.