Climate review to deliver big bang moment for net zero, says leading green Tory

A leading Conservative environmentalist has launched an inquiry into how the UK can fight climate change while maximising economic growth.

Chris Skidmore, a former energy minister, has been commissioned to carry out the three-month review by Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg, whose appointment was criticised by environmental groups due to his criticism of “climate alarmism” and support for fracking.

Mr Skidmore, who chairs the Net Zero Support Group of Tory MPs, said the review would provide a “’big bang’ moment for net zero”, ensuring the UK meets its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 while ensuring economic growth and energy security.

He said: “This review seeks to ‘double down’ on how we can ensure that our energy transition happens at the same time as maximising the economic opportunity for businesses and households across the country, providing huge opportunities for innovation, investment, exports and jobs.

Cabinet meeting
Former energy minister Chris Skidmore (David Mirzoeff/PA)

“I want to ensure that net zero isn’t just viewed as the right thing to do for our environment, but becomes an essential driver of economic growth.”

Taking evidence from consumers, investors, industry leaders and experts, the review will examine the most economically efficient path to net zero and how to maximise the opportunities presented by the 2050 target.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Government remains committed to reaching our net zero emissions targets, but with Russia weaponising energy across Europe we must make sure we do so in a way that protects energy security and does not place undue burdens on businesses or consumers.

“Chris Skidmore’s rapid review will help us identify how best to make that happen, while also ensuring all parts of the UK reap the economic benefits of tackling climate change that I have no doubt will be on offer.”

Mr Skidmore is set to carry out a series of roundtable discussions across the country before delivering his recommendations to the Government by the end of the year.