Last reviewed 8 March 2021

The Government "lacks a plan for how it will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050" despite setting the target in law, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.

The report, published by the influential Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says ministers intend to publish a plethora of targets to reduce emissions in different ways, but says; "at present, there is no coordinated plan" towards achieving those targets.

Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the PAC, said the Government has set itself “a huge test in committing the UK to a net zero economy by 2050 - but there is little sign that it understands how to get there and almost two years later it still has no plan.”

“We must see a clear path plotted, with interim goals set and reached - it will not do to dump our emissions on poorer countries to hit UK targets. Our new international trade deals, the levelling up agenda — all must fit in the plan to reach net zero”, she added.

According to the report, government departments are not taking into account the impact their projects and programmes will have on the UK’s net zero ambitions, and strongly urges against any ideas of reducing UK emissions by “simply transferring emissions overseas”, which MPs say would seriously undermine global efforts to tackle climate change.

As much as 62% of the future reduction in emissions will rely on individual choices, behaviours and lifestyle choices, but the government has so far failed to engage with the public on the substantial, individual behaviour changes needed to achieve net zero, the report says.

Local authorities will also play a major role in the move to net zero, yet Central Government isn’t doing enough to support local efforts on climate change or ensure they have the necessary resources to deliver on net zero commitments, the report adds.

The report calls for net zero strategies to be put in place in all key sectors ahead of crucial climate talks hosted in Glasgow, in November.

“COP26 is a few months away; the eyes of the world, its scientists and policymakers are on the UK —- big promises full of fine words won’t stand up," Hillier added.