Today, as has been the lead story across most of the national media this morning, an announcement has been made that the UK government has set out a major set of green strategy documents in response to the High Court ruling last year to strengthen their Net Zero Strategy. The vast majority of the ‘Green Day’ policies and investment are not new however and were announced last year. Already, the detail has been attracting criticism for not going far enough and not having any new funding allocated to it.
Reacting on Twitter, the Shadow Climate and Net Zero Secretary, Ed Miliband, said:“What was billed with huge hype as the government’s “green day” turns out to be a weak and feeble groundhog day of re-announcements, reheated policy, and no new investment. These announcements are most notable for their glaring omissions: no removal of the onshore wind ban which is costing families hundreds of pounds on bills , no new investment for energy efficiency which could cut bills, no response to the Inflation Reduction Act which could help Britain win the global race for clean energy jobs“
According to E3G,an independent climate change think tank with a global outlook, the ‘Green Day’ package announced is ‘underwhelming’ and is not enough to get the UK on track to net zero or ensure the UK is internationally competitive in the clean tech industries of tomorrow.
E3G have released the following statement in response to the Government announcement:
The Government has launched a major set of green policies in order to strengthen UK energy security and boost the UK clean tech sector.
The announcements made today include a revised Net Zero Strategy after they were ordered by the High Court to revise it because it was not ambitious or detailed enough. The Government is also responding to the independent Net Zero Review by the Conservative backbench MP Chris Skidmore and launching a revised Green Finance Strategy.
The vast majority of the policies set out today were announced last year and there is little new money on the table. The package as a whole is underwhelming. Although it marks progress, it is unlikely to convince international investors that the UK can retain leadership as the green industrial revolution unfolds.
The government has been under immense pressure to show that they are serious about competing in the race to lead the development of net zero technologies after bold moves by the United States and Europe. In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act has been launched, which it is estimated by Goldman Sachs will lead to over $1 trillion of clean tech investment. The European Commission has responded with its plan for a Net Zero Industry Act, which will also generate billions of euros for green industry.
Ed Matthew, Campaigns Director at E3G said:
“The world is undergoing the greatest industrial transformation in 300 years as the race to zero emissions intensifies. Most of the policies launched today were announced last year and are not bold enough to keep the UK competitive in the clean tech race or put us back on track to net zero. It is underwhelming.”
On green finance, Ed Matthew, Campaigns Director at E3G at E3G said:
“Without finance, nothing on net zero will get done. The revised Green Finance Strategy sets out some welcome steps towards the Prime Minister’s ambition of forging a world-leading Net Zero Financial Centre. But it will need to be underpinned by a comprehensive Net Zero Investment Plan, an independent tracking of net zero financial flows, a strong net zero mandate for regulators and a credible green taxonomy. More progress is needed.”
On energy efficiency and clean heat, Juliet Phillips, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G said:
“The new insulation scheme is a welcome step forward, although the Conservatives have still not allocated a third (£2.1bn) of the funding they pledged in their manifesto to energy efficiency and clean heat. Even more retrofit funding is needed to get the UK on track for net zero. The new scheme will only insulate 100,000 more homes a year which is far too little when there are 17 million homes in the UK with poor insulation.
“While there’s still a long road ahead to decarbonise the UK’s homes and get off expensive and polluting fossil gas, today’s announcements signal that the government is backing clean, electric heat as the major solution. Steps to lower the running costs of electricity and boost the heat pump market help lay the foundations for the take-off of clean heat in the UK.
“Households and industry are now relying on the government’s plans for long-term regulations for energy efficiency and heat, which will provide the certainty needed to invest in the future of the UK’s housing.”
On trade, Jonny Peters, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G said:
“The UK considering a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) is a positive development that would help British manufacturing to decarbonise. However, CBAMs are internationally contentious. The UK will need a fully-fledged diplomatic strategy to address these sensitivities. Cooperation with the EU – especially UK-EU Emissions Trading Scheme linking – and cooperation with developing countries – including offers of international climate finance – must be the foundation of the UK’s approach over the coming months.”