The Conservative Party in Britain is facing division as reports have surfaced that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intends to relax various important environmental policies.
On Tuesday evening, the BBC announced that seven environmental policies are being reconsidered. This sparked a quick reaction from the Prime Minister’s office and a statement from Sunak, stating that he will deliver a speech this week. However, he maintains his commitment to the UK’s main objective of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“I will not be deterred from starting the process of informing the nation on why and how we must make changes,” stated Sunak.
To begin, I will be delivering a speech this week to announce a crucial decision that we must make for our country to become the kind of place that we all desire for our children.
Proposed revisions may involve extending the deadline for banning new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 to 2035; gradually phasing out 80% of new gas boilers by 2035 instead of all of them; postponing the 2026 prohibition of off-grid oil boilers until 2035; exempting landlords and homeowners from any new energy efficiency regulations; rejecting the idea of implementing taxes to discourage air travel; no new initiatives to promote carpooling; and reevaluating proposed recycling programs.
Sunak emphasized that being realistic about climate plans does not equate to giving up on our goals or disregarding our promises. He stated that the U.K. is still dedicated to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and honoring our international agreements, but in a more effective and balanced manner.
However, the report has revealed significant divisions within the Conservative party. While they were the ones who made the net-zero pledge into law, there are also members of Parliament who have strong doubts about the efforts to decarbonize the United Kingdom.
In agreement with a doubtful attitude, Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary on the conservative side of the party, stated on Wednesday morning on Times Radio: “We cannot rescue the Earth by causing financial ruin for the British citizens.”
According to Braverman, who spoke on BBC’s Radio 4, she will not anticipate or predict Sunak’s speech. However, she did mention that the expenses involved in meeting these arbitrary goals must be considered. She also expressed a desire to avoid setting unachievable and punishing targets.
However, Alok Sharma, who previously held a position in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet and led the COP26 climate summit, cautioned that such a situation could have severe repercussions on business confidence and inward investment. He emphasized the importance of maintaining the political consensus that has been established in our country regarding environmental issues and taking action against climate change.
He stated to Radio 4, “In all honesty, I don’t think it will benefit any political party in terms of gaining votes if they choose to pursue this direction.”
Zac Goldsmith, a former Environment Minister and ally of Johnson, stated on BBC Newsnight that Sunak’s brief time as Prime Minister will be known as the moment the UK rejected the global community and future generations, a moment of disgrace.
The proposals that have been reported have already caused concern among industry leaders. Car manufacturer Ford U.K. released a statement expressing the importance of the government’s determination, dedication, and reliability. They also cautioned that any deviation from the 2030 goal for electric cars would compromise all three factors.