Request for Net Zero figures rejected again

Barry White

A recent article in the New Scientist magazine (29 January 2022) reports that the UK government has refused for a third time to release the expected emissions savings for measures in its Net Zero plan to meet the UK’s carbon targets. It’s a decision that critics have called deeply unhelpful and concerning.

The publication of the government’s Net Zero Strategy on 19 October 2021 ahead of the COP 26 climate conference in Glasgow detailed how the UK planned to reach its 2050 commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Earlier government officials conceded that there was a spreadsheet containing all the figures, but said they wouldn’t release it.  The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) refused a freedom of information request by New Scientist to publish the document. It declined the request on the grounds that it involved the disclosure of internal communications.

Withholding the document smacks of “secrecy and subterfuge” and prevents the public from being able to interrogate the estimated impacts of the measures, says Ed Matthew at the climate change think tank E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism) a think tank operating to accelerate a global transition to a low-carbon future.

“Public interest doesn’t outweigh the need to keep such communications private”, says the BEIS Freedom of Information team. “We have concluded that the net zero strategy itself contains appropriate detail at this stage for the public to engage with our decarbonisation proposals,” they wrote in a letter.

Previous government blueprints for decarbonisation, such as the 2020 ‘10 Point Green Plan’ and 2017 ‘Clean Growth Strategy’, have spelled out estimates of exactly how much individual policies will cut emissions. Observers believe the Net Zero Strategy failure to provide any such breakdown, shows a lack of transparency that hampers independent scrutiny.

Source Adam Vaughan New Scientist:

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