Last reviewed 1 July 2022

The Government’s current strategy cannot be relied on to deliver the emissions reductions necessary to achieve Net Zero commitments, a report has concluded.

The report, published by the Government’s advisory body, the Climate Change Committee (CCC), warns of a “shocking gap” in policies to better insulate homes and warns that policies to tackle emissions in agriculture and land use policies are the weakest, despite being “vital” to delivering Net Zero.

Speaking about the report, the CCC Chairman Lord Deben said:

“In the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, the country is crying out to end its dependence on expensive fossil fuels. I welcome the Government’s restated commitment to Net Zero, but holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently. The window to deliver real progress is short.”

Last year, the CCC applauded the Government for setting ambitious targets and launching a new Net Zero Strategy and recognises that policies are in place for most sectors of the economy, but its review of progress finds “scant evidence of delivery against these headline goals so far”.

The areas where progress is strongest are those backed by government policy, including the deployment of renewable electricity, the rapid expansion of offshore wind in recent years and the rise in electric car sales, showing that consumers and households are willing to adopt low-carbon options when offered a cost-effective, good quality product.

According to the report, government plans exist for about a third of the UK’s required emissions reductions to meet the Sixth Carbon Budget in the mid-2030s but estimates that over a third cannot be relied on to deliver the necessary emissions reductions.

The CCC says the HM Treasury must “urgently review its tax strategy to support the Net Zero transition” and is calling for a comprehensive reform of planning legislation to reflect the UK’s international and national commitments to Net Zero. Bottlenecks, such as skills gaps and planning consents for infrastructure, should also be tackled early.

Speaking to the BBC, Lord Deben described recent evidence of climate extremes as “very, very worrying”. He continued: “The public should be proud of the UK setting best targets but I’m very worried that there’s no convincing programme for delivering policies”.

The CCC’s assessment of UK progress in reducing emission is available here.