Prime Minister mulls a 'pragmatic' net-zero

The Prime Minister is reported to be considering slowing the current progress to net-zero in a major policy shift.

Previously agree timelines, such as the banning of sales of new petrol and diesel cars and phasing out gas boilers could be delayed in a move to combat the cost-of-living crisis and prepare the Government for the forthcoming election.

Sunak is said to have responded to a leak on the issue by saying that the Government is still committed to reaching net-zero by 2050, but in a "more proportionate way".

The groundwork for an announcement is being laid, with talk of ‘realism’ and being ’honest’ about trade-offs that will need to be made in an apparent jibe at Keir Starmer’s plans. He underlined, however, that any change would not mean reneging on any climate agreements it had already made.

A part of the issue, for the UK, is that it has decarbonised and switched to renewables at a breakneck speed compared to over countries or the EU average, and this, whilst placing the UK in the leading pack on net-zero, is coming at a considerable economic disadvantage. Moreover, that without other countries picking up the pace the entire endeavour is lost, with the UK only contributing 1 per cent of emissions compared to the huge carbon emissions from the US, China and India.

In reaction to the news, UK director of Transport & Environment UK, Richard Hebditch said: “The sudden abandonment of long-held policy will send shockwaves across industries that we need to get greenhouse gas emissions to zero - the automotive industry being just one. Car and van manufacturers, battery suppliers and gigafactories, as well as charging station providers have all been planning for the 2030 phase-out. Now, their plans will be up in the air yet again, creating chaos and uncertainty. The future of the country and the climate deserves better.”

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