Government lacks a plan for how it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 despite setting the target almost two years ago. At present, there is no coordinated plan with clear milestones towards achieving the target, making it difficult for Parliament and the general public to understand or scrutinise how the country is doing in its efforts to achieve net zero emissions. Government intends to publish a plethora of strategies this year setting out how it will reduce emissions in different sectors ranging from transport to the heating of buildings culminating in an overall net zero strategy.
Departments are not yet sufficiently considering the impact on net zero when taking forward projects and programmes. The Treasury has changed its guidance for policy appraisal to ensure departments place greater emphasis on the environmental impacts but has not set out how this will work in practice. Government is not yet ensuring its activities to reduce UK emissions are not simply transferring emissions overseas, which would undermine global efforts to tackle climate change.
As much as 62% of the future reduction in emissions will rely on individual choices and behaviours, from day to day lifestyle choices to one off purchases such as replacing boilers that use fossil fuels or buying an electric vehicle. Government has not yet properly engaged with the public on the substantial behaviour changes that achieving net zero will require. Local authorities will also play a major role in the move to net zero, and Government will need to engage more with local authorities about how they can contribute, including ensuring they will have the necessary resources.