Fears Boris Johnson quitting could spell end for net zero as green Tories fear worse PM

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Conservatives concerned about climate change are raising alarms that the new Prime Minister may not follow through on the ambitious goals laid out by his predecessor. Under Mr Johnson’s leadership, the UK has rolled out major environmental policies and regulations and made greater progress in tackling the climate crisis than both of his predecessors in the past decade.

In the past few years, the UK passed the Agriculture Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Environment Act, along with rolling out a landmark Energy Security Strategy that is set to make the UK energy independent, provide cheap renewable energy and hopefully bring down bills.

Along with hosting COP26 in Glasgow last year, Mr Johnson also oversaw a major boost in electric vehicle demand and offshore wind production.

Sam Hall, of the Conservative Environment Network, told the Guardian that for Mr Johnson, tackling the energy crisis and rolling out green policies were a major priority.

He said: “Net-zero, in particular, has been viewed as integral to the government’s levelling up strategy, with a huge amount of new investment set to flow into the UK’s industrial heartlands as a result of our net-zero goal.

“In response to the Ukraine crisis, the prime minister has doubled down on renewables in order to bolster the UK’s energy security and ease the cost of living, although he has not been able to unlock further support for energy efficiency from the Treasury.”

With Mr Johnson set to leave 10 Downing Street soon, fears have been raised that his successors could ditch net zero in a bid to appease parts of the Tory backbenchers.

The Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSC) is a group of 20 Conservative backbenchers have repeatedly pushed back against Mr Johnson’s green agendas.

They have claimed that net-zero should be pushed back because its too expensive, particularly as Britain is currently facing a cost of living crisis.

One replacement hopeful, Brexiteer Steve Baker, has already vowed to tear up the UK’s green plans, and end the push for new wind energy.

However, industry experts have dismissed these suggestions, arguing that the worst impacts energy crisis could have been softened if the Government had done more before to phase the country into renewable energy.

Roger Fouquet, of the London School of Economics, said: “Price volatility is an inevitable part of the fossil fuel energy system.

“Renewables do not suffer from these market-related problems.”

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As a response to this energy crisis, the Government has massively scaled up its production of new renewable energy, particularly offshore wind and nuclear power.

Most recently, the UK auctioned off a record-breaking number of wind farm contracts to generate enough electricity to provide power for 12 million homes.

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