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When will the UK Government actually act on its green commitments?

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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UK Green Economy

Welcome to yet another week where the UK Government has made new assurances that it is committed to tackling the climate crisis. This week, carbon emission targets have been raised, with the UK now hoping to cut carbon emissions by 2035. 

Here at Electrical Review, we regularly write about the UK Government’s myriad of promises when it comes to improving its environmental impact, so far, these include: 

That stuff is just the tip of the iceberg for all the commitments that have been made by the last few Governments, I could probably be here all day picking out articles where the current administration has made big commitments towards reducing the country’s carbon emissions. 

The problem is, there’s a lot of bluster and not a whole lot of substance. The UK could achieve net zero by 2050, it’s entirely possible, but right now it doesn’t seem like we’re on the right track. 

Earlier this week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed that carbon emissions are set to rise globally as we emerge from a Covid-19 induced lockdown. The rise in emissions is expected to be the largest increase in carbon emissions year-to-year since 2010. That hardly sounds like a planet on the road to net zero. 

Of course, much of that increase is coming from China, but the UK is hardly on the path to net zero either. In fact, according to Green Alliance, unless this Government takes decisive action soon, then we could actually see emissions in the UK creep back up above previous levels. That would be hugely embarrassing for a Government that is committing to cut emissions. 

So, what’s going wrong for Boris and co? Well, so far, many of the green policies that have been announced by this Government have been promises and commitments, rather than actions. 

In fact, when it comes to actions, this Government doesn’t appear to be able to grasp the challenge ahead. The Green Homes Grant was supposed to be the flagship green policy, making homes all across the UK more energy efficient and contributing to our decrease in carbon emissions. That didn’t exactly work out, with the Government dropping it like a lead balloon after less than a year in operation

Another area where the UK Government has made big promises comes from the electric vehicle arena. The big commitment here is that new diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned from 2030 as everyone will be buying electric vehicles, and while it’s true, demand for EVs has skyrocketed, the Government isn’t exactly helping the situation. 

Just recently, the plug-in car grant was dramatically reduced, with fewer vehicles now eligible to receive any funding. Does that sound like a Government that wants to incentivise everyone to go electric?

With the UK set to host COP26 this year, it seems that making big promises is going to be par for the course for the rest of 2021. I’m just hoping that we’ll actually see fewer flimsy promises and more bold action.

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