Chair writes to Chancellor on £1 trillion cost estimate
27 June 2019
Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has written to Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer with a series of questions concerning reports that Government estimates have put the cost of meeting the net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 at £1 trillion.
The letter puts a number of questions to the Chancellor, including whether Treasury modelling has been conducted on public expenditure savings that would arise from net-zero (e.g. reduction in NHS spending from healthier diets, reduced pollution etc), plans for a Treasury review of how to fund the transition to net zero, and whether the Treasury will develop a strategy to ensure the distribution of costs and benefits is fair. The correspondence also questions how the 5-year review of the net zero target will be conducted.
Ahead of a BEIS Committee session on net zero with the Minister on 10th July, the BEIS Chair has also written to Minister Chris Skidmore with a series of questions about the Government's approach to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, including how the Government intends to include emissions from international aviation and shipping and use of international carbon credits.
Background on BEIS Committee's work on net-zero
Following the Prime Minister's commitment to the UK cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and the publication of the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC) report, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee held a session on Tuesday 18th June examining the rationale for going faster to hit the net zero target, hearing from witnesses including Gail Bradbrook, Extinction Rebellion, Isabella O'Dowd, Climate and Energy Specialist, WWF, and Baroness Bryony Worthington, Environmental Defense Fund.
In the first session for the Financing Energy Infrastructure inquiry on 19 June, with witnesses from the Committee on Climate Change, National Infrastructure Commission, and CBI, the BEIS Committee asked for reactions to the £1 trillion estimate and views on how the anticipated benefits of net zero compare with the costs [question 25 onwards].
On Wednesday 8th May, the BEIS Committee questioned the Committee on Climate Change and business stakeholders on the net zero target and actions needed to achieve net zero emissions. A hearing on net zero with a Government Minister is scheduled for 10th July.
The net-zero hearings are part of the Committee's ongoing work on the Clean Growth Strategy and complement its current inquiries on financing energy infrastructure and on energy efficiency. The Committee has also carried out inquiries on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage and on Electric Vehicles.
The BEIS Committee recently joined with five other select committees of the House of Commons (Environmental Audit; Housing, Communities and Local Government; Science and Technology; Transport; and Treasury) to announce plans to hold a Citizens' Assembly on combatting climate change and achieving the pathway to net zero carbon emissions.