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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, welcomes the Net-Zero report by Committee on Climate Change (CCC), which recommends a new, net-zero emissions target for the UK.

Commenting Ryan Shorthouse, Director of Bright Blue, said:

“Before she steps down, the Prime Minister has the opportunity to do something uncharacteristically bold: ensure the UK adopts a new, legal net-zero emissions target by 2050 at the very latest. Doing so would be the most critical and transformative policy her Government could implement. And it would be quintessentially conservative: helping to build a more sustainable and prosperous future for younger generations.”

“There is now a sound technological, scientific and legal basis for the UK adopting a new, legal net-zero emissions target in the coming decades. The latest IPCC report was clear: bringing emissions down to net zero before 2050 is necessary for meeting the below 1.5 degree temperature rise target agreed by the international community at Paris. And there is clear public support for doing so.”

“Achieving net-zero by 2050 will require the government to provide stronger incentives and investment for our energy system and heating sector. Energy consumers in the UK urgently need to end their reliance on natural gas. A low-carbon gas obligation needs to be introduced for the next Price Control Framework from 2021, to ensure greener gas such as biomethane, bioSNG and hydrogen play a much larger role in our energy supply.”

“While the recent commitment to not connect any new houses to the gas grid from 2025 onwards is welcome, this does nothing for the majority of the existing housing stock that remains connected. There is an absence of government policy to incentivise energy efficiency measures, especially since the end of the Green Deal. The Government should create new ‘Help to Improve’ loans and ISAs. These would support major new household investments in smart appliances, solar panels, heat pumps, biomass boilers, and battery storage, as well as energy efficiency measures such as double glazing and solid wall insulation.”

Bright Blue’s 2018 report Hotting up included polling showing that a clear majority (64%) of the UK public support reducing our emissions to zero in the next few decades. This report advocated that there was a sound scientific, technological and legal case for the adoption of a new, legal net-zero emissions target by 2050 at the very latest.

Bright Blue’s 2019 report Pressure in the pipeline proposed new policies to deeply decarbonise the demand for and supply of UK gas: Establish a ‘low carbon gas obligation’ on gas suppliers in the next price control framework from April 2021 to incentivise the injection of low carbon gas flowing in the UK gas network; Make decarbonisation of UK gas a priority for Ofgem in the next price control framework from April 2021, including by increasing the available funding through the ‘Network Innovation Competition’ and ‘Network Innovation Allowance’; Amend the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations and the Gas (Calculation of Thermal Energy) Regulations to enable a higher proportion of low carbon gases to flow in the gas network; Introduce ‘Home Affordability Assessments’ (HAAs) alongside a new HAA rating; and, increase the requirement for domestic gas boilers to be 95% efficient.

Bright Blue’s 2016 report Better homes proposed new policies to incentivise energy efficiency measures, such as: Introduce minimum energy performance standards for properties at the point of sale and when other renovations on the property are carried out; Introduce ‘Help to improve’ loans; Introduce a new ‘Help to Improve ISA’.