News and Analysis | David Macdonald | July 1, 2022

The UK’s net zero targets: a warning from the CCC

This week, a new Climate Change Committee (CCC) progress report has found that the UK government is failing to reach its net zero targets.

The government’s net zero strategy, published at the time of COP26 in October, set out its intended plan for decarbonisation until 2037. By this time, the UK should have cut carbon emissions by 78% if it is to achieve net zero. However, the CCC – comprised of policy experts and scientists – has published a progress review which has found “scant evidence” of delivery against the main goals so far.

One of the major failings is the lack of a credible plan to help households to improve their energy efficiency. Whilst many of us face soaring energy bills and worry about facing the Winter ahead, there is a huge gap in policy for better insulated homes. Meanwhile, when it comes to reducing farming emissions – a vital part of delivering net zero – the CCC describes progress as “glacial”, and the government’s food strategy has done little to help.

There has however, been some positive progress. The electric car market has increased substantially, driven in part by the bans on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. And, renewable energy is surging – offshore wind is booming and solar panels are increasing in popularity. It’s great to see growth in this sector and it shows that with the right market conditions and support, these industries can provide us with much-needed low-carbon solutions.

Despite this, the UK has a long way to go. Not even a year has passed since COP26, and already we are failing on our promises.  Boris Johnson talked the talk, with his warnings about having “one minute to midnight” on the climate clock and that we “must act now”, but he certainly hasn’t walked the walk.

There really is little point of a net zero strategy without solid policies to back it up. It’s easy enough to set targets, but now it’s time for the government to move on from rhetoric and actually deliver on its pledges.

As the CCC states, the urgency of moving away from fossil fuels, securing energy supplies and cutting carbon emissions has never been clearer. So, whilst we wait for global leaders to take decisive action, we must take individual action by having our own goals and pledges. Targets that we can set ourselves, but unlike the government, actually meet.

Whilst the CCC’s recommendations of eating less meat, using less energy and flying less frequently are clearly effective, we know that the easiest and most impactful change towards helping our planet is through our finances.

Each person who takes the small step of switching their pension or investments is part of a more hopeful outlook for all. One that will protect our planet’s tomorrow.  Disinvesting from damaging and destructive companies is the only moral and practical choice. But far more impactful beyond that is reinvesting that money into clean and sustainable companies that are making a positive impact.

If you want to ensure that your pensions and investments are invested in companies and funds that will help the UK reach its Net Zero targets, get in touch with us for a chat today.


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