Truss must uphold net zero principles, urge government advisers

Two government advisory bodies have called for action from Liz Truss on energy security, fossil fuels and infrastructure to help the nation meet its net zero goals.

The Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which both advise the UK government, have implored the new prime minister in a letter to stay focused on reaching net zero in face of a “set of grim records” facing the UK, which include the high energy prices and historic drought. 

The bodies argued that in addition to the new energy support package for consumers, Truss must follow the principles laid out in the British Energy Security Strategy and the Net Zero Strategy.

The principles aim to ensure secure, clean and affordable British energy for the long term, and the decarbonising of all sectors of the UK economy to meet the legally binding 2050 net zero target.

In brief, the actions outlined in the joint letter to Truss, authored by CCC chair Lord Debenand NIC chair Sir John Armitt, were:

  1. Develop and invest in “credible policies” for energy efficiency in buildings to reduce long-term energy wastage and support the necessary transition to low-carbon heat. 

  2. Provide and promote a comprehensive energy advice service that builds on the service launched over the summer. 

  3.  Deliver a working market-based mechanism for low-carbon heat, for example continuing government plans to grow the market for heat pumps. 

  4. Encourage and make use of new auctions for onshore wind and solar, as renewables are the cheapest form of electricity generation and key to achieving the government commitment to a 2034 decarbonised power system. 

  5. Develop updated National Policy Statements for energy and remove barriers to deployment of strategic energy infrastructure.

In the letter, a warning was also given about how increasing the UKs production of natural gas may improve energy security in the short term, but that “our gas reserves – offshore or from shale – are too small to impact meaningfully the prices faced by UK consumers”.

Addressing the House of Commons this morning, Truss outlined a raft of measures to support people with their energy bills as well as lifting the ban on fracking and setting a target for the UK to become a net energy exporter by 2040.

READ MORE: Truss's energy support plan, fracking push, and 2040 energy export goal: What you need to know

Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:  “The manifesto promise on which this government was elected was that fracking would not happen unless the science changed, which it most emphatically has not. Communities who have this nonsense inflicted on them in the name of an out-of-date ideology will be wondering who their elected representatives are really representing.”