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Fact checking Rishi Sunak's net zero claims

fact checking rishi

By 2050, the United Kingdom aims to achieve net zero emissions. This is a legally binding target, one put in place by the Climate Change Act of 2019. By watering down the UK’s interim net zero policies, Rishi Sunak aims to save money for British families and restore confidence in the wider net zero mission.

Fact-checking of Rishi Sunak’s claims, by the BBC and the Guardian (amongst other outlets) has outlined whether Britons are likely to save any money. The fact-checkers found that any monetary savings are unlikely to have an impact for decades, with the debilitatingly high price of natural gas still blighting British households.

Some of PM Sunak’s key announcements include banning the sale of new cars with combustion engines after 2035 as opposed to 2030, introducing an apathetic target of an 80% phase-out of gas boiler installations by 2035, removing requirements for homeowners to meet energy efficiency targets, and scrapping a raft of hypothetical policies which have only ever been discussed as potential ways to help meet net zero. These include taxes on meat, taxes on airline and frequent flying, and binding rules on car-sharing. Rishi Sunak has also scrapped the government’s home energy efficiency taskforce.

But, will these changes have a positive economic impact on UK households? Fact-checkers and experts doubt it, arguing that there will be direct negative impacts on consumers’ pockets and larger costs will be incurred by the resulting inaction on climate change. George Smeeton of the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) argued that “policy changes announced today by the Prime Minister could cost British households almost £8bn in higher bills over the next decade”.

Even with the 2050 target still in place, the road to achieving net zero emissions will be a rocky one; the Climate Action Tracker has rated the UK’s climate policies to 2030 as ‘insufficient’, with UK climate finance as ‘highly insufficient’. They said: “If all countries were to follow the UK’s approach, warming would reach over 2⁰C and up to 3⁰C”.

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