Green investors have welcomed a far-ranging acceleration of Britain’s Net Zero ambitions, advocated by Conservative MP Chris Skidmore.
The former energy minister was asked by short-lived D-BEIS secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg to review goals and methods by which Britain should meet its legally enforceable target of balancing carbon dioxide emissions and containment by 2050.
In his Mission Zero report out today, Skidmore recommends capitalising on Britain’s world-leading expertise in low carbon tech to secure economic advantage.
“Without the green economy, there is no economy”, Skidmore bluntly states.
With measures sure to dismay vocal NZ foot-draggers in his own party, the Bristol MP advocates nearly 130 new steps to speed up purging CO2 from the nation. More on-shore wind farms, tougher home insulation standards, and endorsing the government’s ban on gas boilers in new homes after 2025, are all high on Skidmore’s list.
Axing planning laws which obstruct low carbon innovations, and uniting communities & local councils in launching at least one Trailblazer Net Zero City this decade, also feature.
Low carbon businesses and their UK supply chains sustained 400,000 jobs in 2020, earning a combined turnover estimated at £41.2 billion. The MP points out that the Johnson’s administration’s continuing Energy Security Strategy and its Net Zero Strategy aim to leverage £100 billion of extra private investment, on the path to creating an additional 480,000 British jobs by 2030.
Skidmore frames his reforms by topic, including :
- establishing an Office for Net Zero Delivery, responsible for placing delivery at the heart of government thinking
- Establishing this year a financing strategy across Whitehall with a bias towards spurring green spending by government & industry
- Using infrastructure, including extending Ofgem’s powers to speed connection of already cheaper onshore wind and solar to the grid
- Pulling policy levers to advance network adaptations & developments favouring new industry inputs such as hydrogen and stored CO2
- Targeting a ‘Help to Grow Green’ campaign at SMEs, informing them on how to plan and invest
- Engaging consumers and businesses with a standardised approach to ecolabelling of products, and a Net Zero Charter mark, acknowledging ‘best in class’ achievement by firms
Over 1,800 submissions and 50 roundtables with financiers, enterprises, technologists and environmentalists went into Skidmore’s Mission Zero report
Its first part quantifies the benefits to individuals and Britain’s economy of an accelerated drive towards Net Zero. Its second sets out a roadmap for how government and industry can exploit the goal’s opportunities, and catalyse action in individual sectors of the economy, such as enhancing the role of local authorities
Lord Nick Stern, lead author of the economic review which inspired Labour’s 2008 Climate Change Act, highlighted how the UK is well-placed to benefit from the increasing demand for net-zero goods and services
“The review argues convincingly that the transition to a net-zero economy is the growth opportunity of the 21st century”, said Stern.
“It also correctly highlights the critical importance of government by providing clarity, certainty, consistency and continuity of policy. I hope the Prime Minister and his government will respond to the review with the urgency and scale required”.
For the Aldersgate Group of environmentally progressive businesses and financiers, executive director Nick Molho said:
“The Skidmore Review is absolutely right to emphasise that the net zero transition is a major pro-business and pro-investment opportunity.
“Its recommendations are based on an impressively comprehensive engagement with businesses and civil society. The government should use this review to produce an updated and strengthened Net Zero Strategy early this year”.
Energy and business secretary Grant Shaps added “I am grateful to Chris– the man who signed our climate commitments into law – for his report. It offers a range of ideas and innovations for us to consider as we work to grasp the opportunities from green growth”.