Responding to reports that that UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce plans to slow down the transition away from fossil fuels, Professor Lord Stern of Brentford, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said:

“Reports that the Government is planning to drop essential climate policies send the wrong signals to businesses looking to invest in the new growth story of the future. It is the opposite of good economics.

“Chopping and changing will raise serious questions with businesses who see a government who cannot be trusted to follow through on policy commitments, be they climate or otherwise. This will undermine investment and jeopardise growth. Statements from Ford and from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders make this crystal clear. Change will involve all firms and households and government policy should be focused on managing that change and not postponing what is essential.

“Kicking the can down the road will make the pathway to net zero more expensive not less, since very rapid reduction would be required a decade or so from now. Remember the target involves the total of emissions between now and 2050, not just net-zero at 2050. To pretend otherwise is to deliberately misrepresent the science.

“Any postponement of action will further damage our international reputation for trustworthiness and potentially weaken the commitment of others. It would be the opposite of “Global Britain”.

“Tens of thousands of people die each year due to air pollution, largely from burning fossil fuels, and still more have their health severely damaged. It is imperative that the Government play their part in tackling this human loss, which is both tragic for the families and deeply damaging for the economy.

“The Government must understand that staying with delivery on climate policies is good for people and the planet and good for the economy. Indeed, we should be moving still more strongly to meet our targets as the Climate Change Committee has made very clear. I hope the Prime Minister sets out more ambitious policies to transition to net zero; not weakens those commitments.”


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