Rishi Sunak’s plans to delay ambitious climate targets have come under fire, as the UK government continues an anti-green drive.
Environmentalists have voiced their concern about the Chancellor’s decision to push back the UK’s commitment to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. They are warning that the delay in setting new carbon targets could cost Britain billions of pounds in wasted energy bills and lost investment.
The move follows a series of anti-environmental stances from the government, including changes to planning laws, subsidies for fossil fuels and proposals to strip away environmental protections in the UK’s post-Brexit trade policies.
The Treasury inherited a legally binding commitment to end the UK’s contribution to global warming by 2050 when it took office in 2019, but Sunak is now looking to delay the plan to give the new administration more time to come up with a revised plan.
Experts fear that this delay could affect the UK’s ability to meet its own emissions reduction goals, as well as the goals of other nations.
Additionally, environmental groups fear that the delay in subsequent reductions in emissions will give fossil fuel industries more time to maintain their place in the energy market, preventing the emergence of cleaner sources of energy and technologies.
The government has defended its decision, saying that it needed more time to assess the damage that further emissions reductions would have on the economy. However, environmentalists have argued that the government is missing the point, as delays in tackling climate change could lead to more costly damages such as the effects of rising sea levels, increased flooding risk, and extreme weather.
It is unclear how long the delay will last, but environmentalists have urged the government to get on with setting ambitious climate targets and to focus more on the long-term economic benefits of tackling the climate crisis.