The government’s net zero strategy, which purports to gradually reduce emissions via a series of 5-year carbon budgets, continues to falter. In July 2022, the High Court declared it in breach of the 2008 Climate Change Act in failing to produce evidence on which its policies are based.
Officials at the responsible department repeatedly refused to reveal how measures such as the transition to electric vehicles, or the replacement of gas central heating boilers with heat pumps, would eliminate emissions by 2050.
Despite the absence of crucial supporting information, the strategy was signed off by minister Grant Shapps and endorsed by then prime minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet.
Shapps is now secretary of state for the pompously titled new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero created in early February 2023. Barely a week after its creation, Shapps finds himself in hot water again.
The Times newspaper has submitted a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office that key data relating to the net zero strategy has been withheld from parliament and the public. This includes the alleged savings from more offshore wind farms, and other policies which amount to a transformation of the economy. The ICO is considering its response.
Critics of the whole net zero dream will not be surprised at what appears to be a lack of scientific evidence to support this policy, but even the green zealots in the House of Commons, Friends of the Earth and so on, now join the call for the government to “release the numbers”.
The government's answer is to blow the trumpet even harder – with talk of “historic opportunities” and “green jobs” in the findings of its Net Zero Review published in January. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that something is fishy when a government says it has cast iron evidence to support its policy but is not going to show you its workings.