Rishi Sunak is contemplating a significant policy shift that could weaken some of the government’s core green commitments, as reported by multiple sources.
This potential change includes considerations such as delaying the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles and a less ambitious timeline for phasing out gas boilers.
The Prime Minister is preparing to outline these proposed adjustments in an upcoming speech. In response to these reported plans, he emphasized the government’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 but in a more balanced manner.
The goal of reaching net-zero emissions is to remove from the atmosphere as many greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, as the UK emits.
The Prime Minister stated that politicians, across various governments, have historically not been forthcoming about the costs and trade-offs involved in environmental policies, and he stressed the importance of realistic approaches.
He affirmed the UK’s leadership in addressing climate change and its commitment to international climate agreements. Rishi Sunak also indicated his intention to deliver a significant speech later in the week, addressing long-term decisions for the country’s future.
If these proposed changes are implemented, they would signify a substantial departure from the Conservative Party’s previous stance on net-zero policies and create a clear distinction from the Labour Party’s position.
Some key points from the proposed changes include:
- Delaying the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035.
- A less ambitious goal for phasing out gas boilers, aiming for an 80% reduction by 2035.
- No new energy efficiency regulations for homes.
- Pushing back the 2026 ban on off-grid oil boilers to 2035, with an 80% phase-out target.
- No new taxes to discourage flying, changes in dietary policies, or measures to promote carpooling.
- A rejection of burdensome recycling schemes.
These proposed changes have sparked mixed reactions, with some politicians expressing concerns about job losses and economic growth, while others see them as a more pragmatic approach.
In a related development, the King is scheduled to host a Climate Mobilization Forum in France, focusing on climate finance and assisting developing economies in reducing emissions.