Bill or regulation? Rachel Reeves MP pursues two options to get net-zero 2050 target

Tomorrow (11 June) Rachel Reeves MP will present a Bill to Parliament which would commit the government to reducing UK carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

Reeves, who is chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee, said there was a “compelling case for the UK to reach net zero by 2050. The facts are clear. The moral imperative to act for our children and future generations is overwhelming. It’s now time for the government to commit to this target and then come forward with the policies, actions, and regulations needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.”

Last week Reeves publshed an alternative route to the target, in the form of a draft Statutory Instrument (SI) which would allow the government to  set the net-zero target in law but do so more speedily, disposing of the need to go through the lengthier parliamentary process needed for a Bill.

She said, “In the UK we have a golden opportunity to deliver environmental benefits, new jobs, and sustainable green industries, but this won’t happen without a co-ordinated, cross-departmental effort from government and a cast-iron commitment to achieving a net-zero target. In presenting this Bill, I want to bring home to the Government the urgent need to commit to the net-zero 2050 target and give the UK the best possible chance of meeting this challenge.” Reeves said that strong, early action on cutting carbon emissions would bring benefits considerably outweighing the costs, in contrast to what she described as “Unwarranted Treasury scepticism.”

Mary Creagh MP, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: ”Reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is no longer a lofty eco-warrior ambition, but will require change everywhere, by everyone, in every sector and at speed.  … The government must now legislate to put net-zero into law and I’m proud to support Rachel’s Bill. The longer we delay the harder and more expensive it will be.”

Further reading

UK Export Finance ‘undermines low-carbon leadership’ says committee

Treasury Committee opens inquiry on decarbonisation and green finance

Scottish government ‘must go farther’ on low carbon plans, say MSPs