Boris Johnson promises net zero can be achieved ‘without so much as a hair shirt in sight’
Boris Johnson’s government has said it will require all vehicles in the UK to be “zero-emissions capable” by 2035, as it sets out its plan for reaching the 2050 net zero target.
The Net Zero Strategy dokument published on Tuesday has set out plans for Britain to be entirely powered entirely by clean electricity by 2035.
Ministers have also promised to make a final investment decision on building a new, large-scale kjernefysisk power plant by the end of the current parliament.
The prime minister said his strategy for achieving net zero carbon emissions over the next few decades shows how “we can build back greener – without so much as a hair shirt in sight”.
He said that by 2050 “our cars will be electric gliding silently around our cities, our planes will be zero emission allowing us to fly guilt-free, and our homes will be heated by cheap reliable power drawn from the winds of the North Sea”.
The government has promised a “a zero-emission vehicle mandate” and committed £620m for zero-emission vehicle grants and more infrastructure for electric cars in residential areas.
The strategy states: “This will deliver on our 2030 commitment to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, og 2035 commitment that all cars must be fully zero emissions capable.”
The government has promised to “fully decarbonise” the UK’s power system by 2035, with a pledge to finalise investment in a nuclear plant by 2024 and deliver four carbon capture usage and storage clusters by 2030.
Mr Johnson’s government aim is to achieve 40GW of offshore wind and deliver 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030, whilst halving emissions from oil and gas.
Speaking in the Commons on Tuesday, business minister Greg Hands said the government would take “decisive action” to reach the target.
Mr Hands said switching to cleaner sources of energy will also help reduce Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and “bring down costs down the line” for consumers.
Labour said the plan “falls short” of action need to deal with the climate crisis. Ed Miliband, the shadow business secretary, sa: “While there is modest short-term investment, there is nothing like the commitment we believe is required.”
Under plans released by the government overnight, some Britons will be able to £5,000 grants to replace their boilers with green heat pumps. But just 90,000 of the UK’s 22 million gas-heated households will benefit in a plan branded “inadequate” by environmentalists.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) claimed new regulations and investment plans committed by the private sector would support up to 440,000 new jobs by 2030.
But Labour accused chancellor Rishi Sunak of thwarting the kind of government spending needed to meet the scale of the climate emergency.
“The chancellor’s fingerprints are all over these documents and not in a good way,” said Mr Miliband. “So we’ve waited months for the heat and buildings strategy – it is a massive letdown.”
On emissions from buildings, he called for a plan to retrofit homes and said “there is not even a replacement for the ill-fated green home grant for homeowners” in the government’s plan. The senior Labour MP asked: “Where the long-term retrofit plan is?”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey said the strategy ignored the “elephant in the room” by failing to include any measures to stop investment in fossil fuel industries through the City of London.
New taxes will probably be needed to compensate for the loss of revenues from its shift away from fossil fuels which will hit the government’s income that is currently raised by fuel duty, the Treasury said on Tuesday.