Don’t see cutting carbon as a cost but as an historic opportunity to make money, says Chris Skidmore in Mission Zero

Mission Zero

A new review of Net Zero by MP Chris Skidmore says there are opportunities for businesses to reap the financial benefits of carbon reduction while saving the planet.

Businesses should not see reducing carbon emissions as a cost but as an opportunity.

That just about sums up Mission Zero, the net zero review by former Energy Minister Chris Skidmore published on 13 January.

The review says the UK’s leadership on tackling climate change has delivered real change at home and led to a global transformation – but that more should be done to reap the economic benefits that presents.

Official statistics show there are already around 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the UK, with turnover estimated at £41.2billion in 2020. Both the British Energy Security Strategy and Build Back Greener: Net Zero Strategy aim to leverage an additional £100billion of private investment, and creating an additional 480,000 British jobs by 2030.

Mission Zero makes 129 recommendations, covering areas including the greater role that business can be supported to play, making better use of infrastructure, and delivering more energy efficient homes. They are all designed to maximise economic investment, opportunities and jobs while working towards achieving legally binding targets to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In the report Chris Skidmore urges ministers to grasp the ‘historic opportunity’, highlighting how the government’s Net Zero Strategy offers the right direction and the right policies to do so.

Chris Skidmore says: “We should be proud of the lead the UK has taken in tackling climate change, having exceeded expectations so far in our race to net zero emissions by 2050. As essential as that is environmentally, it also puts us at an economic advantage globally.

“We lead in areas including clean technologies, science, manufacturing and green finance – areas that, if managed right, can lead to new jobs and strong economic growth.

“In developing this report, we have engaged with communities, economists and climate experts from across the country through more than 50 roundtables and 1,800 submissions – all of which have led to the Mission Zero findings.

“My recommendations are designed to make the most of this historic opportunity, covering the length and breadth of our economy, so that people in every part of the country can reap the benefits of this both in their communities, and in their pockets.”

The proposals include:

•          backing business – by, for example, reviewing incentives for investment in decarbonisation through the tax system and launching a Help to Grow Green campaign offering information and advice to small businesses so they can plan ahead

•          backing local action – reforming the planning system to put net zero at its heart nationally and locally and backing at least one Trailblazer Net Zero City, local authority and community that can work towards reaching net zero by 2030

•          delivering energy efficient homes – including legislating for the Future Homes Standard so that no new homes will be built with a gas boiler from 2025 and adopting a 10-year mission to make heat pumps a widespread technology in the UK

•          using infrastructure to unlock net zero – developing a cross-sectoral infrastructure strategy by 2025 to support the building and adaptation of new green energy sources (notably hydrogen) to support the green economy.

You might also be interested to read the House of Commons Environmental Audit report on Costing Carbon in Construction and the Government's response to it.