To move the country away from fossil fuels and to help transition to a green economy, the Government’s Net Zero strategy details plans to help the country reach net zero emissions by 2050 with a range of green policies. While experts and campaigners have highlighted the urgency of the climate crisis, the strategy has stoked division in Britain. And as Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak battle to become the next Prime Minister, the pressure is piling on the candidates to slam the brakes on these green plans.
A new poll by YouGov has revealed 59 percent of Conservative Party voters want net zero to be put on ice.
This figure reaches 70 percent if “Don’t know” responses are included.
Meanwhile, only 30 percent of Labour and Lib Dem voters want to see the climate pledge put on hold by the future Prime Minister.
And among over 65s, almost one in six are in favour of a review of the Government’s green policy, the survey revealed.
Overall, the public are slightly in favour of this move by 52 percent to 48 percent, excluding those who expressed no opinion.
The results of the poll also revealed that working-class voters are more sceptical of net zero than middle-class voters.
Voters in the Midlands and Wales were the most in favour of putting net zero on hold, while Londoners and Scots were the most against this.
Amid the Tory leadership election, both remaining candidates have suggested they will stick to net zero.
Mr Sunak has said: “I am committed to net zero by 2050, but that can’t mean neglecting our energy security.”
The former Chancellor has also signalled his interest in investing in green technologies.
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For instance, he told The Telegraph that “wind energy will be an important part of our strategy”, but added that “as prime minister, I would scrap plans to relax the ban on onshore wind in England, instead focusing on building more turbines offshore”.
Mr Sunak has also pledged to create a new Energy Security Committee.
But the former Chancellor also appeared to make a “screeching” U-turn with a pledge to cut the green levy slapped down on energy bills, which would help consumers save £160 on energy bills.
It came after Ms Truss began to pull ahead in the polls, and Mr Sunak may be encouraged to scrap even more green pledges to narrow that margin following YouGov’s data.
Meanwhile, Ms Truss has from the start been advocating against the green levy, which helps to fund a number of environmental policies.
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And while the Foreign Secretary claims she is in favour of Net Zero, she has said: “Whether that’s electric vehicles or insulation in the home, but what I don’t want to see is ordinary households penalised by our net zero targets.
“So I would lift the green energy levy and cut money from people’s fuel bills while looking for better ways to deliver out net zero targets.”
Toby Young, the right-wing commentator and Editor-in-Chief of Daily Sceptic, appeared to think that the YouGov poll will work in Ms Truss’ favour.
He tweeted: “According to a new poll for YouGov, a majority of Conservative voters would like the next prime minister to hit the pause button on Net Zero.
“It looks as though Liz Truss will do what they ask.”