Climate change must be at the heart of the next general election, the Government’s net zero tsar has said.
Leading green Conservative MP Chris Skidmore warned that the next election would be “critical” for meeting the UK’s climate commitments, with the winner responsible for delivering key decarbonisation policies before 2030.
Speaking at an online event on Thursday morning, Mr Skidmore said: “If we want net zero to succeed, it simply isn’t good enough to wish net zero to succeed.
“We must too continue to work to hold every political party accountable, and to ensure that their manifestos contain the policy commitments that will meet the ambition we have set.”
The review was commissioned by Liz Truss to assess how net zero could be delivered while ensuring economic growth, and Mr Skidmore’s coalition will now provide policy ideas for achieving his recommendations.
But Mr Skidmore will also look to put pressure on all political parties to maintain the UK’s commitment to net zero, even as he stands down as an MP at the next election.
He said: “The next general election will perhaps be the most important election for climate policy that has ever been fought.
“For whoever forms a government, it will be under their stewardship that between 2024 and 2029 we must achieve our 2030 goals. To fail cannot be an option, for the rest of the world is watching.”
Mr Skidmore also called for a “national retrofit programme” to install heat pumps in existing homes and move away from reliance on gas.
He said: “The future of home heat, be in no doubt, will be electric.
“While the net zero review urges the Government to take a decision sooner rather than later on the future uses of hydrogen for home heating, we need to get real that the net zero transition will be above all a transition away from gas of all forms, towards electricity.”
The Government’s current target is to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, but the industry has warned that there may not be enough installers or funding to reach the target, while the Climate Change Committee said the Government should be aiming for 900,000 heat pumps per year instead.