New Aldersgate Report calls for urgent policy decisions regarding net zero emissions

5th October 2020

Following extensive cross-industry and civil society engagement, the Aldersgate Group launched a new report today, Monday 5 October, setting out some of the key policy decisions that need to be taken in this parliamentary term to put the UK on a credible pathway to building a competitive, net zero emissions economy. The Group calls on the government to bring these together as part of a comprehensive net zero delivery plan.

The report, Building a net zero emissions economy, provides an in-depth overview of the near-term policy interventions required across a range of economic sectors to reach the net zero emissions target. Building on growing business [3] and public calls [4] to align the UK’s economic recovery strategy with the net zero target, the report argues that policy decisions in the early 2020s will be essential to grow private sector investment in low carbon technologies and services, strengthen the UK’s economic recovery and support efforts to tackle regional and social inequalities. Having a comprehensive net zero delivery plan in place will also strengthen the UK’s influence as host of the G7 and COP26 summits in 2021.
Based on recent government announcements but also the recognition that the UK is currently off track for meeting its interim targets under the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, the Aldersgate Group calls for an overarching strategy to align policy interventions in the buildings, transport, power, heavy industry, agricultural, land management and finance sectors and calls on the government to put in place a trade and diplomatic policy that is consistent with its net zero target.

Key recommendations include:  
  • Pressing ahead with policy and regulatory measures to cut emissions in buildings, surface transport, power and waste.
  • Focusing innovation efforts to support large scale trials of technologies and business models that will be essential to cut emissions in ‘hard to treat’ sectors such as heavy industry, agriculture and aviation. 
  •  Growing the potential for negative emissions by creating a market for nature-based solutions and supporting scalable trials of potentially promising negative emissions technologies (NETs) - Nature-based solutions illustrate the importance of the net zero delivery agenda working hand in hand with the finalisation of the Environment Bill and the Agriculture Bill.
  • Tackling the ‘levelling up’ challenge, by managing a just transition towards a durable recovery and a net zero emissions economy. 
 Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group said:

“Securing a durable recovery from COVID-19 and putting the UK economy on track for net zero emissions are mutually reinforcing goals that are strongly supported by businesses and the public. Actions in this parliamentary term will be essential to achieve both these objectives. The Government has stated its ambition to deliver a green recovery and has made positive stimulus announcements in recent months. But to put the UK economy on a credible pathway for net zero and allow private investment to do most of the heavy lifting, the government must now put together a comprehensive plan to close the existing policy gap.”

The complete report can be accessed here

Notes to Editor

The Aldersgate Group is an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy. Our members include some of the largest businesses in the UK with a collective global turnover of over £550bn, leading NGOs, professional institutes, public sector bodies, trade associations and politicians from across the political spectrum. Our mission is to trigger the change in policy required to address environmental challenges effectively and secure economic benefits for the UK in doing so.
The Aldersgate Group’s new report, Building a Net Zero Emissions Economy: next steps for government and business, will be available at:
On 1 June 2020, around 200 business leaders – including several Aldersgate Group business members - wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and called for an economic recovery plan aligned with the UK’s net zero target and other environmental goals. More information is available here:
The final report of the UK Citizens’ Climate Assembly published on 10 September 2020 found that 79% of assembly members ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ that the UK’s approach to economic recovery should be aligned with the net zero target. The report is available here:
The UK government will shortly launch an innovation programme to develop and demonstrate the potential of direct air capture and other greenhouse gas removal technologies. Projects are expected to start in April 2021:
On 15 October, the Aldersgate Group will launch a new policy briefing on how to design an effective low carbon skills strategy in the UK.
The Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing on 24 June, making the case for aligning the UK’s trade policy with its climate and environmental goals and setting out key measures to be taken in the Trade Bill and future trade agreements. The briefing is available at:
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Emmanuelle Dot
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