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Accelerating net-zero by 2050 or sooner?

(Credit: Adobe Stock)

3 min read

The Net Zero All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) worked to accelerate policy change, promote zero carbon solutions, and support clean growth technology. Alex Sobel MP, Chair of the Net Zero APPG from 2019 to 2024, sets out his thoughts on a long-term strategy for a low-carbon economy in the United Kingdom

Climate change and the need to accelerate and embed net-zero policy in the UK is at the heart of the Net Zero APPG mission. I am proud to have chaired the Net Zero APPG over the last Parliament and since it was formed in 2019, and I hope to again in this new Parliament. We have worked well to galvanise cross-party consensus; informing, shaping and leading the debate on what the UK needs to do to go further and faster on the road to net-zero. Our 10 Point Action Plan, Net Zero APPG Road to Net Zero Report and Myth Busting Report have all made an influential, positive and useful contribution.

Our target to reach net-zero by 2050, or sooner, must not be slowed by false rhetoric. This is a time like no other. One where the UK has an unprecedented and fresh opportunity to escalate its economic prosperity by unlocking net-zero innovation and investment.

Too often our carbon footprint has been lost, or diverted, on the path to net-zero. This is especially true in the context of the energy, cost of living and climate crises. For too many consumers and businesses, the low-carbon option is not an option − it’s too risky and/or out of reach financially. Even though evidence shows that net-zero assets, like electric vehicles or heat pumps for example, are cheaper to run in the long  term, the cost proves too high − unaffordable − in the short term.

The UK’s ambitions to accelerate net-zero will need a more compelling narrative if we are to leverage the behaviour and policy change needed to scale up a just transition. As our Myth Busting Report demonstrates, there are lots of myths and fears which need to be debunked.

“The UK’s ambitions to accelerate net-zero will need a more compelling narrative if we are to leverage the behaviour and policy change needed to scale up a just transition”

The BIG challenge for the new government is to unlock net-zero incentives, policies and investment, which work to scale up a just transition and, at the same time, cut bills, create jobs and skills, and deliver affordable clean energy.

There’s no success in being right if we aren’t being understood. Our habits and behaviour will not change unless we communicate why they must. The way we talk about climate change must change. It makes a difference to how others act. Parliamentarians of all parties have a responsibility to their constituencies to get it right, too. Analysis and science are only half the battle. The language we use to explain and communicate the benefits of net-zero will be even more important in the weeks, months and years to come if we are going to get anywhere close to achieving net-zero by 2050, or sooner. We simply cannot afford to wait or get it wrong.

Now is the time for all parliamentarians to come together to help bust the myths, change the narrative, and incentivise businesses and consumers to scale up their transition. On the road to net-zero, we need to embed the truths and stop the myths. Join me to help unlock the policy change we need to secure a bright net-zero future for the UK. This isn’t just about mitigating the climate crisis but about transitioning to a new technological era and unlocking the skills and jobs which will shape our world − the UK cannot afford to be left behind.

This article was originally published in The Path To Net Zero supplement circulated alongside The House magazine. To find out more visit The Path To Net Zero hub.

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