QUAKERS IN BRITAIN have expressed profound disappointment and concern that the revised net zero strategy announced on 30 March provides so little of what is needed to meet the vast challenge of ending the fossil fuel era.
UK climate policy remains a dispiriting mix of vague pledges and appeasement of the oil and gas industry, with still no plan for how, and how fast, each sector of the economy will reduce its emissions and be weaned off fossil fuels.
The re-announced commitments on offshore wind and home insulation offer nothing new – and their contribution to climate targets will be wiped out by the ongoing policy of maximising oil and gas production in the North Sea.
In response to the government-commissioned review of net zero led by Chris Skidmore, Quakers in Britain wrote: “While innovation is important, it should not be prioritised at the expense of lower-cost, readily available approaches.”
The revised strategy continues this irresponsible approach of focusing on high-risk, unproven technologies. The announcement focuses heavily on hydrogen and in particular carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS). These tools are favoured by the fossil fuel industry because they leave the door open to the continued expansion of oil and gas. The strategy ignores the urgent need for a mass programme of home retrofitting for energy efficiency, and the Skidmore review’s finding that local authorities need clarity on their role and responsibilities to play their full part in the transition.
The climate crisis is escalating every year. It endangers everyone and everything we love, and its impacts around the world are already devastating. Yet the UK government continues to take insufficient action.
The net zero strategy was only revised following a court judgement that the original strategy was inadequate. Yet what has now been presented gets us no closer to a zero-carbon economy and a liveable future, say Quakers.
Paul Parker, Recording Clerk of Quakers in Britain said: “At the heart of our Quaker faith is a commitment to truth and integrity: we try to live according to what we know to be true. Given what we know about the role of fossil fuels in driving climate breakdown, we cannot stay silent while the government continues to prop up and enable oil and gas.
“The UK government has missed many opportunities to show genuine leadership on climate and produce a coherent plan. Its approach is woefully misguided and out of step with the public, who want stronger action on climate change. People in the UK want renewable energy, they want warm, energy efficient homes. The climate movement will keep working for those things until petroleum-based policy making is left in the past where it belongs.”
* More about Quaker work on climate justice here.
* Source: Quakers in Britain