Four key takeaways for energy and net zero from today’s King’s Speech
We were disappointed to note Prime Minister Rishi Sunak used the King’s Speech today to propose only one bill related to energy and net zero: The Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill.
The king said, “Legislation will be introduced to strengthen the United Kingdom’s energy security, and reduce reliance on volatile international energy markets and hostile foreign regimes. This Bill will support the future licensing of new oil and gas fields, helping the country to transition to net zero by 2050 without adding undue burdens on households.”
Here are our takeaways from the speech:
1) Renewable Energy
The king stated, “…my ministers will seek to attract record levels of investment in renewable energy sources and reform grid connections building on the UK’s track record of decarbonising faster than other G7 economies”.
In the Government’s background notes to the speech, it added:
The Government’s focus is on ensuring we reach net zero without unduly burdening families and businesses, increasing the use of our own secure energy sources like renewables, nuclear and oil and gas, improving the energy efficiency of homes and boosting investments in clean technologies of the future that will grow the economy and create jobs.
2) Fossil Fuel Dependence
The background notes state: “Data published by the Climate Change Committee shows that the UK will continue to rely on oil and gas to help meet its energy needs even after the UK reaches net zero in 2050; this will include the use of gas for power generation with Carbon Capture Usage and Storage.”
Of the proposed legislation, Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, said, “We already have regular North Sea oil and gas licensing in Britain, and it is precisely our dependence on fossil fuels that has led to the worst cost of living crisis in generations.”
3) Net Zero Commitment
The King reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 and the government added, “While we deliver our net zero targets at home, we’re also leading the global effort to tackle climate change – including committing over £1.6 billion for the Green Climate
Fund – the biggest single international climate pledge the UK has ever made.”
4) Energy Efficiency Improvements
The king reiterated the government’s plans to scrap proposals to require landlords to meet EPC C from 2025 in their private rented properties. Landlords can still take advantage of the many government-backed schemes available to improve energy efficiency but at a time that suits them.
With the opening of this session of Parliament, we hope the prime minister will recognise that green policies are too important for the future of the country to use them to score political points.
As the UK works towards its climate goals and a sustainable future, let’s hope for positive developments in the coming session that prioritise our environment and reduce our carbon footprint.