View all
Weekly Sustainability News
Sustainability Insights
Meet the Team
ESI Monitor News
All posts

What Sunak's Decision Means for the UK

A step backwards for the UK's climate commitments? Let's unpack the implications of Sunak's recent decisions.
TL;DR Embed
TL;DR: UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made significant rollbacks on the country's green commitments. The deadline for ceasing new petrol and diesel car sales has been moved from 2030 to 2035, and gas boiler phase-out policies have been relaxed. While claiming to prioritise family savings, these changes may increase long-term costs and hinder the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. These decisions have drawn sharp criticism, raising concerns about the UK's diminishing role as a global leader in climate action.

Rishi Sunak, the UK Prime Minister, has recently unveiled a set of policy shifts that many view as a glaring retreat from the nation's climate commitments. Let's unpack the troubling implications of this unexpected turn.

1. Rolling Back on Automotive and Energy Commitments

One of the most notable changes is Sunak's decision to delay the deadline for the cessation of new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 to 2035. While this may be in line with some European countries, the UK had been paving the way as a leader in environmental responsibility. This decision may have significant repercussions for car manufacturers who've already invested heavily in electric vehicle production in anticipation of the 2030 deadline. As Lisa Brankin of Ford UK puts it, businesses require "ambition, commitment, and consistency" from the government, and this reversal might jeopardise all three.

Moreover, the dilution of commitments to phase out gas boilers in homes is another disconcerting move. By allowing homeowners to switch to greener alternatives only when their existing boilers fail, the government effectively promotes the prolonged use of less sustainable energy sources. This, combined with other rollbacks on energy efficiency targets, could have long-term effects on the UK's carbon footprint.

2. The Uncertain Pledge to Net Zero

Sunak's decision severely undermines the credibility of the UK's pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. While the Prime Minister remains firm in the goal, the specifics on how the nation intends to achieve this, especially with the newly relaxed policies, remain uncertain.

3. Economic "Savings" at What Cost?

Sunak's justification for these rollbacks centres around saving families money by postponing green commitments. However, this short-term saving could translate to more substantial long-term costs. Delaying green infrastructure and technology implementation might lead to increased expenditure in the future as the urgency and scale of required changes intensify.

4. Public Perception and Global Leadership

The UK has historically been at the forefront of climate action, but this decision risks undermining its global leadership. Notable figures like former US Vice-President Al Gore have expressed disappointment, emphasising that such a move is not what the international community expects from the UK. It's also noteworthy that while the government claims the UK's emission reductions surpass other countries, these cuts largely arise from actions in the 90s and early 2000s, rather than recent government initiatives.

5. What Lies Ahead

It remains to be seen how the UK will navigate its path to net zero by 2050, especially with these adjusted targets. With a majority of the public in favour of the transition to net zero, the government will need to strike a balance between economic relief and the imperative of environmental responsibility.

In conclusion, while Sunak's decision seeks to provide immediate economic relief, it presents complex challenges for the UK's future in terms of sustainable development, international reputation, and climate leadership. Only time will reveal the full ramifications of this move.


Increase your ESG-IQ!
Get the latest releases and tips, interesting articles, and sustainability news delivered straight to your inbox.
By subscribing, you agree to receive communications from FutureTracker by email
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Let's get started.

Thumbnail show business people at table

How to choose sustainability software

Technology is simplifying the path to net-zero for businesses, but how do you pick the best carbon accounting platform? Here are some of the top criteria for making a wise choice.
Read post
Thumbnail of business people shaking hands

The benefits of green business

Green business is good business. Here’s why becoming leaner and greener in the corporate world has widespread advantages for the environment and the bottom line.
Read post
Thumbnail showing a business meeting

How can my business be more sustainable?

The failure rate for business sustainability initiatives is around 98%. Learn how to enter the sustainability space prepared, educated, and much more likely to succeed.
Read post
Thumbnail showing long road

Sustainability is a journey, not a destination

Sustainability is a practice and an ethos for how we engage with the world; it’s not a series of rules or regulations. Learn how to reap the benefits of true sustainable development.
Read post
Thumbnail showing business people using technology

How to use FutureTracker like a pro

You don’t need to be an expert to use FutureTracker. Sustainability may be complex, but for the user our solution is simple and intuitive. Here's how it works.
Read post
Thumbnail showing forest with co2 written in the middle

What is my carbon footprint?

Understanding your business’s carbon footprint is the first and most important step of your sustainability journey. Here's what to expect when you measure your first carbon footprint.
Read post
View all