In its Net Zero Strategy released last year, the UK Government laid out its plans to move away from fossil fuels, secure energy supplies, and reduce carbon emissions. Having reviewed the Government’s progress so far, the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC) has discovered ‘major failures’ in delivery of the plan’s goals.

The 600-page progress report features a revamped framework for monitoring the UK’s climate progress and new progress indicators to assess the risks of Net Zero delivery. 

Despite ‘scant evidence’ of delivery against the Strategy’s headline goals, the CCC has stated that there are some areas of progress, such as the deployment of renewable electricity and the scaling up of electric cars. 

To continue working towards Net Zero, the Government must also stay on track with emission reduction plans, which have seen UK emissions reduce by almost half (47%) since 1990. 

Read more: UK Gov commits to hydrogen and CCS in landmark Net Zero strategy

Labelling the UK as a ‘champion’ in setting new climate goals, Lord Deben, Chairman, CCC, added that the country is ‘crying out’ to end its dependence on expensive fossil fuels. 

“I welcome the Government’s restated commitment to Net Zero, but holes must be plugged in its strategy urgently.” 

“The window to deliver real progress is short. We are eagled-eyed for the promised action,” he added. 

Welcoming the report, trade body for the carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) industry, the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA), the UK needs to accelerate its focus on carbon capture. 

“Today’s report from the CCC is clear – the UK is not on track to deliver net zero and we need to move much further and faster on CCUS specifically,” said Ruth Herbert, Chief Executive, CCSA.

The CCSA’s CCUS Delivery Plan 2035 was released in March of this year (2022), and is intended as a call to action for Government to confirm the business models for both CCUS and hydrogen, in addition to helping advance investment into the next wave of clusters that must be operational by 2030. 

“The UK has a tremendous unique opportunity to become a global leader in this crucial technology, but we need to push the pedal now,” added Herbert. 

Warning signs 

In addition to its belief that the current Net Zero strategy will not deliver its goals, the CCC has called for greater public engagement strategy from wider enablers of the transition. 

Three years after the Net Zero target was signed into law, HM Treasury has still not revealed how the full range of costs and benefits of the transition will be shared, prompting the CCC to request an urgent review of its tax strategy to support the Net Zero transition. 

To reinforce the UK’s international and national commitments to Net Zero, the organisation also stated that there needs to be a comprehensive reform of planning legislation, in addition to a release of the Future Homes Strategy. 

“Effective delivery of Net Zero will be needed across the world if the Glasgow Climate Pact is to have the legacy that the UK aimed for at COP26 last year,” the statement concluded.