Britain 'WILL hit net zero' emissions by 2050' – but who will pay?

Britain WILL hit ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050, insist ministers as doomsday climate report is released – but who will pay? Boris faces Tory revolt over saddling ordinary Britons with cost to of green pledges

  • Kwasi Kwarteng said targets to make the UK ‘net zero’ by 2050 could be met 
  • Came amid some backbench disquiet at the cost to voters of green changes
  • New group is being set up to push back at plans to outlaw petrol and diesel cars

Boris Johnson was facing pushback from within the Conservatives Tory Party today over his plans to ban new petrol cars and outlaw gas boilers to help fight climate change.

A senior minister today insisted that targets to make the UK ‘net zero’ in terms of emissions by 2050 could be met ahead of the release of a shock UN climate report expected to paint a bleak picture.

But Kwarsi Kwarteng’s comments came amid some backbench disquiet at the cost to cost to voters of the move to greener living.

A new group is being set up by Kent MP Craig Mackinlay to push back at plans to outlaw sales of new petrol and diesel cars and replace gas boilers within the next 20 years.

He argues that the plans could ‘completely kill us off politically’ because they will hit poorer voters in former ‘Red Wall’ areas who voted Conservative for the first time in 2019.

Business secretary Mr Kwarteng said the UK Government was ‘on track’ to hit net zero emissions by 2050 but acknowledged ‘it’s challenging’. 

He told Sky News: ‘If you look since 1990 we’ve reduced our emissions by 45 per cent and we’ve managed to grow the economy by 80 per cent, this is a world-beating figure.’

But he told the BBC that a carbon tax – seen as a tax on meat – is also still being considered. 

A senior minister today insisted that targets to make the UK ‘net zero’ in terms of emissions by 2050 would be met ahead of the release of a shock UN climate report expected to paint a bleak picture.


A new group is being set up by Kent MP Craig Mackinlay to push back at plans to outlaw sales of new petrol and diesel cars and replace gas boilers within the next 20 years. Chancellor Rishi Sunak (left) is said to be looking at ways to ease the pressure on poorer families of the transition.

On the heels of deadly floods in India, China and northern Europe as well as asphalt-melting heatwaves in North America and southern Europe (Greece pictured), the IPCC’s report is the first so-called assessment report since 2014.

He added: ‘It’s 2021 now, I think there’s every chance we will hit the target. It’s a lot of work and I think we can do that … it is challenging, it’s not an easy thing, if it were an easy thing we wouldn’t be going on about it.’

But South Thanet MP  Mr Mackinlay, who is also a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Motorists and hauliers, told the Politics Home website: ‘We don’t want to be on the wrong side of the electorate, that just will not wear this.’ 

Rishi Sunak is drawing up plans for richer households to take the bigger hit from green changes, the Times reported today. 

The UN’s climate science panel will today unveil its much-anticipated projections for temperature and sea-level rises less than three months before a crucial climate summit in Scotland.

After two weeks of virtual negotiations, 195 nations approved the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) comprehensive assessment of past and future warming on Friday in the form of a ‘summary for policymakers’.

The text – vetted and approved line by line, word by word – is likely to paint a grim picture of accelerating climate change and dire threats on the horizon.

On the heels of deadly floods in India, China and northern Europe as well as asphalt-melting heatwaves in North America and southern Europe, the IPCC’s report is the first so-called assessment report since 2014.  Both the world and the science have changed a lot since then.

With increasingly sophisticated technology allowing scientists to measure climate change and predict its future path, the report will project global temperature changes until the end of the century under different emissions scenarios.

Based almost entirely on published research, it could forecast – even under optimistic scenarios – a temporary ‘overshoot’ of the 1.5 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement, and revise upwards its estimates for long-term sea-level rise.

It is also expected to reflect huge progress in so-called attribution science, which allows experts to link individual extreme weather events directly to man-made climate change.

While the underlying IPCC report is purely scientific, the summary for policymakers is negotiated by national representatives, and therefore subject to competing priorities.

At the weekend it was reported the green agenda had hit another stumbling block amid growing fears within government that it will hit poorest households the hardest.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak was reportedly leading push-back against net zero, fearing it will spark a cost-of-living crisis with energy bills already on the rise and inflation spiking as Covid lockdowns ease.

Senior Tories fear the crisis could prove politically ruinous in so-called Red Wall seats in traditionally working class areas of the north that flipped blue from Labour at the 2019 election, handing Mr Johnson a landslide victory.

The National Infrastructure Commission said poorest tenth of households will pay an extra £80 each year by 2050 while the richest tenth will face a £400 bill to help sectors that currently have a low chance of hitting the Net Zero emissions target

If hydrogen is part of a zero-carbon future, it could have to be produced by electrolysis (as shown above), which sees electric currents passed through water. Another option is for the plants to capture the carbon emissions and pump them underground

A Treasury review into the costs of meeting the net-zero 2050 goal has already been delayed twice from its original spring publication date.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, the delay is due to fears that analysis shows working class families bearing the heaviest share of the burden.

But a source told today’s Times that No10 and No100 were both on the same page when it comes to climate change.

Last month experts advising the Government on infrastructure warned Britain’s families face paying hundreds of pounds more a year on food, flying and shipping costs to help industries remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

The poorest tenth of households will pay an extra £80 each year by 2050 while the richest tenth will face a £400 annual bill to help sectors that currently have a low chance of hitting the emissions target by this date.

The National Infrastructure Commission said the UK needs an industry to store the gases to help meet its pledge on carbon emissions – and taxpayers will have to spend up to £400million in the next decade to fund this.

However the executive agency added that the biggest polluting industries such as agriculture, shipping and aviation should make a £2billion-a-year contribution from 2030 – even if these costs are passed onto households.

The suggestion issued in a report provoked fury among consumer groups amid mounting concerns over how much Boris Johnson’s Net Zero commitments will end up costing hard-working families in the long run.

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