Conservative MPs welcome Prime Minister's decision to legislate a net zero emissions target

Today Conservative MPs from the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) Caucus celebrated new legislation to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. MPs welcomed the Prime Minister’s new environmental legacy and future-focused policy by reflecting on opportunities for world leadership and environmental stewardship.

CEN MPs have consistently pushed for a net zero commitment from the Government, and CEN hosted a conference in November to outline the policy opportunities of a net zero target. UK targets will now be brought in line with the Paris Agreement by adopting the advice published by the Committee on Climate Change in May 2019.

Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, wrote to the Prime Minister alongside over 190 MPs calling for a net zero target. He welcomed the news, stating:

“Ambitious plans are needed to tackle climate change - our planet demands it. Today’s announcement has proven a commitment to exactly that. By enshrining this target into law, the Prime Minister has shown that the UK can and will meet the challenges of climate change and play our part to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.”

Kevin Hollinrake, MP for Thirsk and Malton added:

“As the first country to introduce long-term legally-binding carbon reduction targets (in 2008), the leading nation in the G20 for cutting emissions, and with a low-carbon sector that already supports almost 400,000 jobs nationwide, the UK can be proud of our action to tackle climate change so far. However, we know that there is more to be done, and today’s important legislation is the right step forward, presenting an important opportunity to invest, innovate and grow our clean-tech industries.”

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, who introduced a 10 Minute Rule Bill legislating for net zero by 2050 in April, praised the new target:

“I’m delighted that the UK has taken action on climate change by enshrining a net zero emissions target into law. This is the decisive action that both our nation and our planet needs. Without it, and the policies now needed to meet this goal, we risk losing virtually all of the world’s coral reefs and put 20-30% of species at risk of extinction. I am grateful to the Government for being conscious of our role to prevent the worst effects of climate change and embrace the UK’s role in climate leadership.”

James Heappey, MP for Wells, added:

“Alongside innovation and investment opportunities, clean growth offers the jobs and skills of the future. A decarbonised economy could generate more than 65 million new low-carbon jobs worldwide by 2030, while increased investment in energy efficient, low-carbon homes will lower consumer bills as well as emissions. Today’s net zero target is a step towards the next stage in British business and development: the zero-carbon future.”

Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park commented:

“The UK can now set the gold standard on climate leadership and responsibility. As we work towards a zero-carbon future, we can also take the opportunity to promote clean growth with our global partners. The fight against climate change can only be tackled by global cooperation. As the first major economy to set a net zero emissions target in law, this new target offers the UK the prospect to lead worldwide concerted action.”

Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford said:

“Climate change is the biggest challenge our world faces. Recent polling shows that 70% of the public support reducing greenhouse gases to zero. Today’s powerful commitment shows that the Government is listening to calls from the public and business, and responding to the needs of the planet. Margaret Thatcher was the person who first put climate change on the world agenda and Theresa May is going to be the Prime Minister who has taken it to its next decisive step.”

Antoinette Sandbach, MP for Eddisbury said:

“The Government has submitted a bid to host the vital UN Climate Summit COP26, to lead the world in negotiating the next stage of the Paris Agreement. This is the first step in demonstrating that leadership - setting a net zero goal and encouraging all countries to follow our lead, just as they did following the Climate Change Act in 2008.”

Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury commented:

“This legislation could not have come at a more pressing time. By 2030, 43 million people could be pushed below the poverty line because of climate change. Furthermore, by 2050, climate change could cause 86 million people to migrate, and crop production to drop by 10%. World-wide action must be taken, and today the UK has responded.”

David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome said:

“Of course the UK already has an environmental record to be proud of. However we know that we must go further, and with this new law we can confront the challenges of climate change, and leave the natural world in a better state than we found it. I thank the Prime Minister for bringing in this historic piece of legislation today.”

Robert Courts, MP for Witney commented:

“Only last week over 120 British business leaders including BT, Unilever and the CBI employers’ lobby, urged the Prime Minister to ‘immediately’ legislate for a net zero emissions target by 2050. They got their wish. Just as big business supports net zero and believes in its growth potential, as the party of business and innovation, we must stand by this ambition.”

Richard Graham, MP for Gloucester added:

“Net zero emissions will not only protect the natural environment, it will also significantly benefit human health. Currently, air pollution is estimated to cause 64,000 premature deaths per year in the UK, and is particularly dangerous for children. This net zero target means a commitment to cleaning up our air, safeguarding our children’s health and saving money for our NHS.”

Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth said:

“This is the news we’ve been waiting for - the UK has adopted a world-leading net zero emissions target. I congratulate the Prime Minister on this momentous piece of legislation which will not only protect crucial biodiversity, but will also set the UK on track to be a world leader in low-carbon jobs and technology. It will be a strong part of her lasting legacy.”