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Energy Summit

How can the UK decarbonise by 2050?

12 July 2019

11:30 AM

12 July 2019

11:30 AM

Beyond Brexit, there has been little discussion of domestic policy over the past few years – except when it comes to climate change. Almost every prominent Cabinet Minister has now endorsed greener policymaking, and the outgoing prime minister Theresa May has even passed landmark legislation targeting net-zero UK carbon emissions by 2050. It’s clear the green agenda and more recently the Extinction Rebellion movement has had a huge effect on UK politics.

Last month The Spectator hosted its first Energy Summit chaired by Andrew Neil. The event formed part of a wider ongoing partnership with our Energy partners National Grid seeking to widen the debate about the future of the UK’s energy sector. This year’s event sought to bring focus to the challenges ahead in creating a low carbon economy.

The UK has the best record of decarbonisation of any G20 country. The UK’s commitment to decarbonisation has made it the envy of many developed nations. But the challenges we now face are substantial and complex, requiring far greater involvement from consumers – more insulation, reduced usage, and take-up of new technologies like electric vehicles will all be essential. Likewise, industry and transport both require dramatic technological advances to ensure we have a chance of reaching the ambitious net-zero carbon emissions target in 2050 – only three decades away.

As National Grid’s David Wright eloquently put in the interview below, a key challenge for government and industry will be in creating the right conditions for technology change, and where possible enabling advancements to be made.

We look forward to the The Spectator’s 2020 Energy Summit to see how the conversation has developed and see how much has been achieved!


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