The UK has set an ambitious target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. But time is short, and the reality of meeting net-zero emissions in thirty years means that the next decade will be crucial if we are to remain on track.
The business community will play a huge role in delivering this economic, social and technological transformation. This report sets out some of the decisions that government must prioritise to help the business community accelerate its action over the coming decade.
What will it take?
The UK has built strong foundations, with a rapidly evolving power sector and long-term declines in industrial emissions meaning we have achieved some of the task. But the next phase will require major changes in consumer and business behaviour, and development and scale-up of emerging technologies.
The report makes 18 policy recommendations that any future government should deliver, and focus on sectors that are key to our domestic net-zero ambitions:
- Growing supplies of low-carbon electricity
- Rapid reduction in transport emissions
- Progress on the long-term challenge of decarbonising heat through new technologies and improved energy efficiency.
Achieving net-zero will require action beyond these areas, but these are some of the challenges that we must get right. The report also calls for improved technology that will support decarbonisation across different sectors, notably carbon capture and hydrogen.
Our calls to policy makers
To support our recommendations, we also highlight some of the key principles that all politicians and policymakers should consider when developing plans to support reductions in emissions. These include:
- The importance of creating a positive environment for investment
- Ensuring that regulation and governance supports a whole systems approach to emissions reduction
- Capitalising on UK investment in clean technology to create export opportunities
- Having a vision from government to deliver a ‘Just Transition’ that supports any consumers, workers or businesses negatively impacted by the transition.
With the UK set to host the UN’s Climate Change Conference next year (COP 26) we have a unique opportunity to lead international efforts on tackling climate change, while putting our own house in order and using the new decade to accelerate progress towards a carbon neutral future.