The debate on climate change is stuck between two extremes, writes Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper.
On the one hand, there are those who want to abandon Net Zero altogether – because the costs on households are too high, or they don’t accept the evidence for climate change at all. On the other, there are those who argue ideologically that we should move even further and faster, with no regard for the cost to people’s lives or how much we have already achieved compared to other countries.
We need to change this debate and forge a credible path to Net Zero which maintains public consent and is transparent about the choices involved. That is why, last week, the Prime Minister adopted a more pragmatic, proportionate, and realistic approach to Net Zero that will ease burdens on working people.
This new approach includes easing the transition to electric vehicles from 2030 to 2035, in line with other similar countries; giving families far more time to transition to heat pumps – and exempting altogether households where this simply doesn’t make sense, while significantly increasing grants to upgrade boilers and scrapping onerous energy efficiency requirements – and not forcing people to make alterations.
We can do this because the UK has already over-delivered on our climate change commitments and done more than other countries. We have had the fastest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the G7: down almost 50 per cent compared to 1990, compared to just 22 per cent for France, no change for the US, and an increase for China of 300 per cent. Technological advances have also reduced costs more than forecast and we have seen higher than forecast adoption of clean technologies like EVs.
Alongside this new strategy, the Government will be embracing the opportunities of the green economy to create more well-paid jobs. We will continue our support for small modular nuclear reactors, speed up connections to new grid infrastructure, increase the amount of onshore and offshore wind with an improved auction round, and support green R&D with brand-new funding.
Meanwhile, Labour does not have a credible energy plan – they’re just taking short-term positions to suit them politically. For example, by banning North Sea oil and gas they would merely increase our reliance on energy imported from around the globe, putting us at the whim of foreign despots, causing higher emissions and risking over 200,000 British jobs. Labour’s plan is bad for the environment and bad for Britain.