COMMONS

Chair writes to new Secretary of State on net zero

26 July 2019

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has today written to the new Secretary of State Andrea Leadsom to press for action on a series of policy fronts such as electric vehicles, carbon capture, and energy efficiency, in order to ramp up UK efforts to meet future carbon budgets and the net-zero 2050 target.  She is calling for stronger BEIS-Treasury collaboration to ensure that Treasury’s net zero funding review considers not only the costs, but also the benefits, of delivering the new target. 

Chair's comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:  

“I welcome Andrea Leadsom as the new Secretary of State. With the Government committed to the net-zero target by 2050 but currently set up to fail to deliver on the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, it is clear the new Secretary of State will need to hit the ground running and act quickly to ramp up efforts on the policies and actions crucial to tackling climate change and capitalising on the opportunities of a low-carbon economy. 

“The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has made a series of recommendations to drive forward progress - in areas such as electric vehicles, energy efficiency, and on carbon capture and storage - which I hope the Secretary of State will be ready and willing to act upon.

“The Secretary of State should also seek to overcome Treasury resistance and ensure that her colleague at No.11 examines the potential benefits as well as the costs of the transition to net zero. The Government should also overcome its ideological opposition to on-shore wind - the cheapest form of electricity generation in the UK - and set out plans to fulfil this technology’s huge potential. 

“We look forward to questioning the Secretary of State later this year and pressing her on her commitment to the policies needed to deliver on the UK’s climate change obligations.” 

Background on BEIS Committee’s work relating to climate change and net-zero 

Response (PDF PDF 468 KB) from Chancellor Phillip Hammond letter to Rachel Reeves Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee on net zero and responding to series of questions concerning reports that Government estimates put the cost of meeting the net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 at £1 trillion.  

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee lette (PDF PDF 144 KB)r to Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer.  

On 12th July, the Committee published a report on energy efficiency. The report warned that the UK stands no chance of meeting its emissions reduction targets, including net zero by 2050, unless the Government takes urgent action to revive its failing energy efficiency policy and builders are compelled to deliver the latest energy efficiency standards. 

On Tuesday 9th July, the BEIS Committee questioned Sir David Attenborough on a range of issues relating to climate change and the ‘net zero’ emissions target.  

Following the Prime Minister’s commitment to the UK cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) report, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee held a session on Tuesday 18th June examining the rationale for going faster to hit the net zero target, hearing from witnesses including Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion, Isabella O'Dowd, Climate and Energy Specialist, WWF, and Baroness Bryony Worthington, Environmental Defense Fund. 

On Wednesday 8th May, the BEIS Committee questioned the Committee on Climate Change and business stakeholders on the net zero target and actions needed to achieve net zero emissions.  

The BEIS Committee recently joined with five other select committees of the House of Commons (Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury) to announce plans to hold a Citizens’ Assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions. 

Further information

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