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The quickening pace towards carbon net zero

Petrol and diesel car sales ban brought forward to 2035

The Prime Minister’s speech at the launch event of COP26 on Tuesday provides further evidence of a commitment by the UK Government to implement legislation needed to achieve the goal of carbon net zero for the UK by 2050.

The Committee for Climate Change (CCC) has recommended that the UK must stop sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2035 and ideally by 2030 to meet our 2050 net-zero; bringing forward the original target by 5 years.

The speech follows the publication of Ofgem’s Decarbonisation Action Plan yesterday which includes some stark statistics on the trajectory of change for transport.  This notes that plug-in electric vehicles have increased from 50,000 in 2015 to around 230,000 today.  However, it is estimated that there will be 10 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 increasing to 46 million by 2050.

Crucially, many of the plug-in electric vehicles on the road today are classified as hybrids, which can run on petrol or diesel if charging points are unavailable. However, the new 2035 target bans all but electric vehicles.

Ofgem acknowledges that around 3,500 rapid or ultra-rapid chargers need to be built near motorways and around 210,000 public chargers should be installed in towns and cities to meet the future demands of transport. This will create a significant strain on the electricity generation and distribution system.

The new decade will clearly be focused on a radical change in UK transport and the wider implications of building towards a carbon net-zero future. However, whilst Government legislation is important to drive momentum, increasingly businesses are defining their own routes to environmental sustainability and carbon net-zero, often aiming to exceed any Governmental targets that are set.

As recently as last month, big corporations such as Microsoft, Sky and Sainsburys have announced that they are planning to be carbon net-zero or carbon-negative as soon as 2030, ensuring that the businesses are at the forefront of environmental sustainability. By setting themselves targets that are additionally challenging, organisations are demonstrating that more needs to be done to ensure the overall target of Net Zero 2050 is met.

Those that wait for the Government legislation to compel action run the risk of being left behind and may put additional strain on their organisations in the years to come. Acting now can offer a route to a real competitive disadvantage, as the required pace of change quickens.

By defining a sustainability strategy early, achieving your organisation’s key goals becomes a more manageable prospect. To find out more about how Inenco can help you develop and implement a strategy which delivers a more sustainable future for your organisation, give us a call on 08451 46 36 26.