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'UK's net-zero czar warns of climate leadership vacuum' -- Politico


Theresa May’s former energy minister, Chris Skidmore, has released a review documenting the inadequacies of the current UK government to uphold their proposed Net Zero policy. His ‘Net Zero Review’, published in January 2023, urges the UK to capitalise further on the benefits of green growth, which he argues would bolster our economy and boost our energy security.

In addition to the potential electoral cost of inaction, Skidmore’s review cites ‘inconsistent decision making at the top level of government and delays to crucial planning decisions at a local level’ as factors contributing to the U.K. losing out on green investments.

Skidmore also warns of a “complete disjoin between our climate commitments and the reality of meeting them”. This is accentuated by the current prime minister, Rishi Sunak’s decision to open the first new British coal mine in the past thirty years, alongside the nation’s inability to connect green energy projects to the nation’s power grid.   

Worryingly, Skidmore believes that things may worsen for the UK as other European countries seek to replicate the Inflation Reduction Act, US President Joe Biden’s popular policy which floats subsidiaries and tax breaks to encourage green investment. Just recently, European nations have mooted a corresponding policy for Europe, however we would be left out of these benefits following our exit from the European Union.

As the current UK government continuously fails to meet Net Zero targets, Skidmore has called for an overhaul of the current energy strategies which have changed dramatically in the last two years, as we have had three different prime ministers in that time. Additionally, the review recommends that Rishi Sunak’s government establish an Office for Net Zero Delivery to demand for a more consistent stance on environmental policy; perhaps Rishi took note, as just this week he announced the establishment of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, which was established following the disbanding of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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