- Rishi Sunak Faces Criticism for Weakening Climate Commitments
- Prime Minister Emphasizes Commitment to Achieving Net Zero Emissions
- Potential Changes to Gas Boilers and Vehicle Sales Policies Raise Concerns
Rishi Sunak appears prepared to water down some of the government’s net zero commitments to ensure that they are “proportionate,” a move that has prompted opposition from across the political spectrum and from environmental activists.
Rishi Sunak appears likely to weaken key climate commitments, a move that has prompted harsh criticism from Conservative lawmakers and environmental organizations.
The prime minister pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050 “in a better, more proportional manner.”
To change policy, the prime minister may weaken the plan to phase out gas boilers by 2035 and delay the 2030 ban on new petrol and diesel automobiles by five years.
The report has angered Tory MPs, with one stating they are “seriously considering” a letter of no confidence.
However, in a statement released Tuesday evening, Mr. Sunak stated, “No leak will prevent me from commencing the process of explaining to the nation why and how we must change.
“This week, as a first step, I will deliver a speech outlining an important long-term decision we must make so that our country becomes the place I know we all want it to be for our children.”
Indicating what is to come, the prime minister added, “I am aware that people are frustrated with politics and desire genuine change”.
“Our political system rewards short-term decision-making, which hinders our nation’s progress.”
“For too many years, politicians of all hues have been dishonest about costs and concessions. Instead, they have taken the easier way out and stated, “We can have everything.”
Far from it, he insisted that realism “does not imply losing our ambition or abandoning our commitments.”
He stated, “I am pleased that Britain is the global leader on climate change.” We will reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and honour our international obligations more efficiently and proportionally.
“Our politics must once again prioritize the nation’s long-term interests over immediate political exigencies.”
Mr. Sunak has previously alluded to his willingness to weaken climate policies that impose additional costs and “hassle” on households.
Due to their resistance to the ULEZ congestion zone tax idea, the Conservatives won the Uxbridge by-election unexpectedly.
Since then, some Conservative MPs have advised the party to avoid consumer-costing green projects to earn votes.
Others, however, are concerned that it will harm the United Kingdom’s climate change reputation.
Tory MPs are angry by the rumoured auto policy change, calling it “anti-business.” the auto sector has invested heavily in EVs.
They said lifting the petrol and diesel ban would violate a secret promise the prime minister made to Conservative MPs.
Separately, one minister stated that they would be “amazed” if the car ban was delayed due to the signals it would send to the industry, stating, “Every automotive company is investing in EV, we just gave Tata all this money to make batteries, it’s crazy.”
The former president of Cop26, Sir Alok Sharma, warned that “any party that abandons this [climate action] agenda will suffer economically and electorally.”
Sir Simon Clarke, a former Conservative Cabinet minister, tweeted, “It is in our environmental, economic, moral, and (yes) political interests as @Conservatives to take the lead on this issue rather than disown it.”
In addition, there was fury from opposition lawmakers and climate groups.
Ed Miliband, the shadow energy secretary for the Labour Party, stated, “This is a complete farce from a Conservative government that genuinely does not know what it is doing daily.
“Thirteen years of ineffective energy policy have led to a crisis in energy bills, weakened our energy security, caused job losses, and failed to address the climate crisis.”
Friends of the Earth policy director Mike Childs said, “Amid severe flooding and wildfires, rolling back climate promises is morally wrong.
“It is also legally dubious, as the United Kingdom has legally-binding greenhouse gas reduction targets that it is in imminent danger of missing.”