The government’s net zero strategy is aspirational but lacks real detail

Editorial: No one should pretend, as Boris Johnson absurdly claims, that the move to a greener, more sustainable economic structure will be pain free

Tuesday 19 October 2021 22:58
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The government is to be commended for outlining its net zero strategy but there are several reasons for viewing its plans with concern. The aims are admirable, but the ways of achieving those aims are sadly lacking. As The Independent has pointed out, the document “does not provide enough policies or investment to drive the transformation needed to reach net zero”.

First, there are key details still to come. For example, the shift to decarbonise the economy will require a huge increase in electricity supply. That supply will have to be continuous, not subject to weather issues such as the wind over the North Sea. The government promises a decision on nuclear power by the end of this parliament, but its present policies on nuclear are in disarray.

The country generates some 20 per cent of its electricity from this source, but half of its capacity is due to be shut down by 2025. With the exception of Sizewell B and Hinkley Point C, which is being built now, all of its plants will be shut by 2030. It is hard to be confident that the country will have managed to come up with a scheme that could replace that capacity from carbon-free sources on the required timescale.

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