UK’s net zero target backed by nearly all MPs | Letters

Following your report on the Net Zero Scrutiny group of MPs (Conservatives fighting net zero plans are dragging the climate into a new culture war, experts say, February 8), we hope that this letter, supported by cross-party parliamentary groups , will reassure your readers and the public that parliamentarians who are not fully behind net zero are a small minority.

Our groups are supported by hundreds of parliamentarians, from all major parties, representing the whole geography of the UK. We recognize that all of our 2019 election manifestos have committed to net zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. We recognize that the environment is now a major concern of the British public. And we recognize the spiraling climate crisis and the urgent need to shift to a more sustainable economy.

There are different approaches to achieving net zero, but we all support the goal. Delaying action will cost the country more, as Treasury and the Office of Budget Responsibility have made clear. In the national interest, we will continue to support and promote ambitious environmental leadership in Parliament.
Anthony Brown MP APPG environmentCaroline Lucas MP APPG climate changeSir Ed Davey MP APPG sustainable finance, Peter Aldous MP smart energy APPG, Alex Sobel MP Net zero APPGMP Geraint Davies APPG clean air, MP for Ben Lake Energy poverty and energy efficiency APPG, Helen Hayman Co-Chair, Peers for the Planet

Business Green editor James Murray is right to say that to undermine the claims of the pro-fossil energy Net Zero Scrutiny Group, it is essential to explain how the huge upfront costs of transitioning to net zero can be covered, but not at the expense of the poor (“It’s a bit cynical”: the politicians behind the Tories’ attack on the net zero agenda, February 8).

The fact is that a just transition to net zero is easily affordable, and the poorest people and the increasingly squeezed middle class will not have to suffer in the process. Of course, a windfall tax on Shell and BP’s current license to print money is a key first step, but the question is, where will most of the tens of billions needed come from? The key to answering this question is realizing that the entire cost of fighting the Covid crisis has been funded by a £450bn expansion of the quantitative easing programme. This money-creation program must now be expanded again to fund a post-Covid recovery that not only tackles the climate emergency, but also the cost-of-living crisis and inequality in social benefits.

The use of government-incentivized savings, such as pensions and ISAs, and a fairer tax system to help achieve these goals will also be crucial.
Colin Hines
Head, UK Green New Deal Group

How depressing, but not surprising, to read your articles on the Net Zero Scrutiny Group. I am 80 years old; I have studied many short courses with the Open University and Future Learn on various environmental topics, especially those that examine the causes and effects of human-induced climate change. All of these courses point out that mitigating to reduce the amount of global warming will be financially much cheaper than adapting to it.

I have participated in many demonstrations against the climate crisis. I try to live as green a life as possible. I and many others feel betrayed by politicians and scientists like Steve Koonin who say “there is no climate crisis”. I hope Professor Koonin doesn’t have grandchildren who will look back 30 years from now and say, “Grandpa knew what to do, but he didn’t.”
Rose Harvie
Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire

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