The new plan to deliver Net Zero


If we want to change the direction of our country and build a better future for our children, that means we must change the way we do politics. That mission starts this week with a new approach to tackling one of the biggest long-term challenges we face: climate change.

Sadly, the debate about climate change is all too often stuck between two extremes: those who want to deny climate change or abandon Net Zero altogether because the costs are too high, and those who want to go further and faster with no regard to the cost to people’s lives or how much our country has already achieved compared to others. We need to change this debate – and forge a credible path to reach Net Zero by 2050 that brings people with us and is properly transparent about the choices involved.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has this week laid out a more pragmatic, realistic and proportionate approach to meeting Net Zero that eases the burdens on working people:

  • Easing the transition to electric vehicles from 2030 to 2035, in line with other similar countries
  • Giving families far more time to transition to heat pumps – and exempting households where this simply doesn’t make sense, while significantly increasing grants to upgrade boilers.
  • Revisiting onerous energy efficiency requirements – and not forcing people to make alterations where the cost is disproportionate to the benefits or their means. 
  • The government has considered and rejected ideas discussed in a report of the Committee on Climate change. There will be NO rules seeking to enforce carpooling, households having seven different bins, or more expensive meat, and NO new taxes on flying. 
  • There has been a fuss about these statements, with sone opposition voices pointing out that these proposals were never government policy. No, they weren't and we're making clear that they are not going to be, but they were discussed in a report from an influential committee whose ideas have often - in many cases rightly - been adopted in the past so it is only sensible to make clear that these proposals will not be adopted.
  • Supporting new oil and gas in the North Sea so we are less reliant on foreign imports

We can adopt these policies and still aim to hit net zero by2050 because over the last decade Britain has over-delivered on our climate change targets, achieving the fastest reduction in emissions in the G7, technological advances which have reduced costs (such as offshore wind costs down by 70 per cent more than we projected in 2016), and higher than forecast adoption of clean technologies like electric vehicles

  • We have had the fastest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the G7: down almost 50 per cent compared to 1990, compared to just 22 per cent for France, no change for the US, and an increase for China of 300 per cent. 
  • Technological advances have reduced costs more than forecast (such as offshore wind costs down by 70 per cent), and we have seen higher than forecast adoption of clean technologies like EVs.

Britain will maintain all our international commitments and interim domestic targets – including the Paris/Glasgow promises to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and our 2030 NDC.

The government will go even further for householders and investors in embracing the opportunities of the green economy to create more well-paid jobs: funding for Sizewell C and support for small modular nuclear reactors, speeding up connections to new grid infrastructuremore onshore and offshore wind with an improved auction round, and brand new funding to support green R&D.


The last Carbon Budget was debated in Parliament for just 17 minutes – and voted on without proper consideration of the hard choices required. This is not responsible. When Parliament votes on future carbon budgets, at the same time it should consider the specific plans to meet that budget.


Easing the transition to electric vehiclesBy 2030, we expect that the vast majority of cars sold will be electric – because costs are falling, the range is improving, and the charging infrastructure is growing. But the upfront costs are still high for families struggling with the cost of living – and it should be the consumer, not government, making that choice. Furthermore, more time will allow our charging infrastructure to grow and UK/EU manufacturers to build capacity and reduce our reliance on higher carbon Chinese imports. That is why from today, consumers will still be able to buy new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035, in line with countries like Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Canada and US states such as California, New York and Massachusetts. After that, they can still be bought and sold second-hand.

More time for on and off-grid households to switch to heat pumpsWe need a fairer approach to decarbonising how we heat our homes. Businesses need to be incentivised to innovate so heat pumps become cheaper and more effective – but without imposing costs on families. For example, a family living in a terraced house in Darlington would have to pay an upfront cost of around £10,000 today. That is why we will never force households to rip out their existing boiler – they will only have to install a heat pump when replacing their boiler anyway, and even then only from 2035. And we will exempt a fifth of all households where this simply isn’t practical or affordable.

We are also increasing the Boiler Upgrade Scheme cash grants by 50 per cent to £7,500 to support those consumers who want to make the transition now. This is one of the most generous grants in Europe – which, following government support, puts the cost of a boiler broadly on parity with heat pumps. 

Scrapping onerous energy efficiency requirements – and not unreasonably forcing people to make alterations when the benefits are not proportionate to costs. Under current plans, some property owners faced expensive upgrades in just 3 years’ time – for a semi-detached house in Salisbury, that could be around £8,000. We are scrapping those plans, and while we will continue to subsidise energy efficiency programmes to reduce bills, we’ll never force any household to do so.

The Conservative government will not be adopting some of the more extreme ideas discussed in the report of the committee on Climate Change There will be NO rules on carpooling, seven different bins, more expensive meat; and NO new taxes on flying. The debate about how we get to Net Zero has thrown up a range of worrying policy proposals – which the government confirmed this week it will not be adopting. We will never interfere in how many passengers need to travel in cars, never force households to use 7 bins for recycling, never force people to change their diets and harm British farmers by taxing meat or dairy, and will not create further new taxes to discourage flying and taking holidays.

We will continue to support new oil and gas in the North Sea so we are less reliant on foreign imports. We opened a new round of offshore licensing last year and expect new licences under that round to be issued this Autumn. In July, we announced a joint commitment with the North Sea Transition Authority to undertake future oil and gas licensing rounds.


  • Funding for Sizewell C and support for small modular nuclear reactors. Just this week, we took the significant long-term decision to raise funding for the Sizewell C nuclear power station in Suffolk. Sizewell is at the heart of the UK’s nuclear revival and our ambition to provide up to a quarter of the UK’s electricity from homegrown nuclear energy by 2050. To go further, later this Autumn we will shortlist the companies to build a new generation of small modular reactors, which are smaller, less expensive and quicker to build.
  • Speeding up connections to an expanded grid infrastructure. We are investing billions in new energy projects, but don’t yet have the grid infrastructure to bring power to households and businesses. Right now, it can take fourteen years to build new grid infrastructure. We must do more if we are to get to Net Zero by 2050 and build our energy security. That is why we will shortly bring forward comprehensive new reforms to energy infrastructure: setting out the UK’s first ever spatial plan for infrastructure to give industry certainty and every community a say, speeding up planning for the most nationally significant projects, and ending the first-come-first-served approach to grid connections by raising the bar to enter the queue and making sure strategically important projects, or those ready first, will connect first.
  • Improved auction round for offshore wind. We are already home to the four largest operational offshore wind farms in the world – and building an even bigger one. Today we are committing to hitting our 50GW of offshore wind target by 2030 – including 5GW of floating offshore wind. We will make sure that industry has the confidence that the UK remains the best place to invest in offshore wind by ensuring that the next auction round provides the sustainable pricing in the global context and ambition the market is looking for.
  • More onshore wind where communities want it. We are lifting the ban on onshore wind, so that local decision-makers can take a more balanced approach and consider the views of communities as a whole. We are also clear that local areas that support hosting onshore wind should directly benefit. That is why we have consulted on proposals for improved rewards and benefits to be offered to communities backing onshore wind farms, including potential energy bill discounts.
  • New funding for green R&D. As a country that emits less than one per cent of the world’s emissions, one of the most powerful contributions we can make is our ability to develop new technologies that can help the world. So today we are creating new Future Fellowships, backed up by £150 million of new funding, to support our leading scientists and engineers to develop real and practical green technologies.


Britain is still aiming to reach Net Zero by 2050 and meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement to work to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. We also remain committed to our interim domestic decarbonisation targets.

  • Our targets are still more ambitious than other countries. Our 2030 Nationally Determined Contribution delivers 68 per cent reduction by 2030 compared to 1990 levels – more than the US at 40 per cent, Australia and 45 per cent and the EU at 55 per cent, and reduces per capita emissions to 3.8 tonnes, lower than the US, Australia, Canada and the EU. Even after these changes, the trajectory we have set out today still means front-loading effort in the 2030s – faster than straight-lining the reductions in emissions required to 2050.
  • The Prime Minister will set out our next steps in environmental leadership in the coming weeks. We cannot tackle climate change without protecting nature; just the loss of forests alone accounts for the equivalent of ten times the global emissions of the entire United Kingdom. In the coming weeks, the Prime Minister will set out the next stage in our ambitious environmental agenda ahead of COP28.


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