UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, is reportedly preparing to make changes to certain government net zero policies in order to differentiate the Conservative Party from the Labour Party ahead of the next election. These changes, which will be announced in a speech on Friday, could potentially delay the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and weaken the phasing out of gas boilers.
Despite these planned changes, Sunak reassured the public of the government’s commitment to achieving the net zero target by 2050, stating that the approach will be «better, more proportionate» to the country’s long-term interests. Critics, however, argue that scaling back these targets could result in job losses, higher energy bills, and damage to the UK’s international reputation.
The decision has received immediate criticism from senior members of the Conservative Party who believe it to be a significant mistake. Industry groups also expressed dismay, highlighting that this move contradicts previous assurances from government ministers. Environmental activists may challenge these changes in court as the government is legally obligated to provide a detailed plan for achieving the net zero target.
Industry experts have criticized the reported changes, particularly the delay in banning petrol and diesel cars and the phasing out of gas boilers. They emphasize the importance of these targets for the growth of the renewable energy sector. Additionally, it has been suggested that there will be no new taxes to discourage air travel or policies to promote carpooling or change diets. Recycling schemes with multiple bins may also be ruled out.
Sunak’s decision comes in response to pressure from the Conservative right to reconsider expensive green policies. However, some Tory MPs argue that abandoning these commitments will have long-term consequences for the economy and households. Others view this move as politically and economically damaging, potentially impacting the Conservatives’ chances at the ballot box.
– The Guardian
– The BBC