Almost 90% of energy professionals say the UK is currently off track for net zero by 2050.
That’s the gloomy suggestion made in the Energy Institute’s latest Energy Barometer report, which surveyed more than 350 UK professionals from across the sector – the results show more than half believe the country is even off track for the interim 2030 target unless urgent and decisive policy action is taken and reveal workers believe slow progress on tackling emissions could undermine the UK’s credibility as the host of the COP26 discussions in Glasgow next year.
The survey also identifies galvanising increased emission reduction ambition from other countries as the foremost challenge for the UK as the host of the climate conference.
Stressing that support for polluting and emissions-intensive sectors must be made contingent on climate action, 80% of professionals urge the government to implement a green recovery and say they want to see government stimulus funds channelled into sustainable industries and jobs.
As well as overwhelmingly supporting plans to ‘build back better’, the professionals questioned said the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry this year, taking over from the largely Brexit-based concerns of 2019.
Despite a third of respondents’ own organisations having already publicly committed to a net zero target, two-thirds of respondents do not believe the energy industry itself is doing enough to decarbonise and cite energy efficiency as the biggest missed opportunity of the last decade – professionals note this would prove the most affordable way to close the emissions reduction gap by 2030, with more respondents singled out retrofits of existing housing stock than any other action for a resilient recovery.

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