Economic review of net zero target to be carried out by MP Chris Skidmore

Conservative MP Chris Skidmore is to lead a review on whether the UK is working towards its 2050 net zero target in a way that is “pro-business and pro-growth”.

MP Chris Skidmore MP Chris Skidmore

The review was announced by prime minister Liz Truss in her energy speech to the Commons yesterday, describing the purpose of the exercise as a way to determine the most economically effective way for the UK to reach its goals.

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

Former energy and climate minister Skidmore tweeted: “I'm delighted to have been invited by the PM to conduct a review into meeting our net zero commitments in the most economically-efficient way.

“I'm committed to ensuring we continue to lead the world in our zet zero plans in a way that is pro-business and pro-growth.”

He also shared that the report is due by the end of 2022, with more information due to be announced shortly.

Skidmore has held various ministerial positions, including minister of state jointly at the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 10 September 2019 to 13 February 2020. Prior to this, he was minister of state for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation in Theresa May’s government, a role which the Guardian reports transformed him into a climate campaigner. He said: “I ended up in a place where I could see the science, see climate change happening and how clear it is that we need to act.”

Skidmore is also the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Environment Group, which was established to create a forum for debate on environmental issues and increase access to specialised knowledge.

During the recent leadership campaign, Skidmore joined with COP26 chair, Alok Sharma, and then environment minister Zac Goldsmith, to organise a climate hustings in which they got most of the candidates to sign a pledge to honour net zero.

At the moment, Skidmore is undertaking a ‘Net Zero’ tour across the country, telling the Guardian on his first day yesterday: "As the former energy and climate minister who signed net zero by 2050 into law, I've been determined to show that net zero isn't just about going green; it is essential for future economic growth.

“One of the reasons why I'm out on tour with the all-party environment group which I chair is to demonstrate how net zero is going to benefit the lives of people across every region."

On the eve of Truss's announcement of energy support measures, the Climate Change Commission (CCC) and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), which both advise the UK government, implored the new prime minister in a letter to stay focused on reaching net zero.

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.

READ MORE: Truss must uphold net zero principles, urge government advisers

This topic is a key focus of campaign groups, particularly ahead of the news that the moratorium, or “temporary ban” on fracking has been lifted.

Helena Bennett, head of climate policy at Green Alliance, said: “The local communities don’t want it, the electorate didn’t vote for it and poll after poll has shown the public are strongly opposed to fracking the English countryside.

“However, unblocking renewables like onshore wind is actually popular, and it would almost immediately start to bring down people’s energy bills, create jobs and tackle climate change”.