Top City firms have fired a warning shot at Rishi Sunak over a lack of “long term clarity” on net-zero today after ministers have wavered on a number of climate commitments in recent weeks.
In a letter to the prime minister, investors and banks worth more than £1.5trillion in assets said the prime minister’s rhetoric towards the climate and a lack of action on net-zero are muddying long term policy and potentially scuppering “transformative investments”.
“We are writing to express concern at government’s recent public statements and policy signals, which risk undermining the UK’s leadership in the clarity, certainty, and confidence of policymaking toward meeting the UK’s commitment to net zero,” wrote the group convened by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association, which includes Jupiter Asset Management, Scottish Widows, Aegon, and Royal London.
“This shift blurs regulatory visibility for investors and risks the ability of the finance sector to make the large-scale, transformative investments required to accelerate net-zero delivery and unlock growth in the UK.”
Despite a 2019 commitment for net-zero by 2050, the government has wavered on a number of climate commitments in recent weeks, including leaning into a pro-car agenda just as London’s Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan presses ahead with a controversial expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in the capital.
Banning new petrol and diesel car as well as gas boilers had previously been a cornerstone of the government’s net zero plans. However writing to Sunak, the firms they felt the plans had been thrown into doubt.
“Recent public debates have cast doubt on the UK’s 2030 phase-out of new petrol and diesel cars and 2035 phase-out of gas boilers, while the reforms to the UK’s carbon markets, energy efficiency standards for the private rented sector, and plans to issue new oil and gas licences in the North Sea all cast uncertainty on government’s commitment to the UK’s near and longer-term climate targets,” they wrote in the letter.
The comments point to a recent doubling down from Ministers on oil extraction in the North Sea, with energy and Net Zero secretary Grant Shapps saying the government would now look to “max out” the UK’s oil reserves.
The group writing today have now urged the government to “provide long-term policy certainty” to ensure investment and the UK’s net-zero targets are now scuppered.