In an interview for the Sunday Times, the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch, emphasises the need to reach Net Zero by 2050 in a way that’s sustainable and doesn’t unfairly burden the most vulnerable in society. Here’s an excerpt:
Behind the scenes, she spent several months lobbying Sunak and Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, to delay the zero-emission vehicle mandate, which will require at least 22% of sales of any make of car to be electric by next year, rising to 80% by 2030. While Sunak has decided to press ahead with this policy, his wider rowing back of Net Zero measures last month is seen as a victory among Badenoch’s allies.
Giving the strongest hint yet that she is prepared to see the 2050 Net Zero target slip if the costs of the multi-trillion pound policy continue to mount, Badenoch said: “We still have the ambition to get to Net Zero by 2050, but we have to remember that we are only 1% of world emissions. If we bankrupt ourselves trying to get there, we won’t achieve Net Zero. We will also be in a worse position in terms of tackling climate change. So the target helps us focus – but actually it’s looking at how we’re doing so in a sustainable way that is so critical.”
She added: “We want to do it in such a way that everybody feels they gave consent for this and that it was not on the backs of the poorest in society, and not in a way that damages the country.”
Responding to the concerns of environmental campaigners about the U.K. oil and gas regulator’s decision to give the go-ahead to the Rosebank oil and gas field in the North Sea, Badenoch said: “We are aiming for Net Zero, not absolute zero. Many [environmentalists] think we’re talking about absolute zero. So they think opening an oilfield means that we’re not going to meet the targets.
“We’ve never said that we’re not going to emit carbon again. Even the Climate Change Committee, which is independent, said we will still need to use fossil fuels by 2050. So we should be exploiting the resources that we have in this country rather than doing what other people are doing: relying on Russian gas.”
Worth reading in full.