New UK Government must make climate a priority 

Comment by Josiah Lockhart, Chief Executive of Changeworks

Changeworks is calling on the new UK Labour Government to follow through on their commitment to prioritise tackling climate change to meet the UK’s net zero goals.  

In their manifesto, the party said a new “Energy Independence Act will establish the framework” for their energy and climate policies. On top of this, we are encouraged that the new Government has highlighted initiatives such as GB Energy and the Warm Homes programme.  

We welcome these commitments and seeing climate move further up the agenda, but after a period of numerous consultations and delays on climate change policy at UK and Scotland level, we now need to see real, tangible action. The new Government has been given a clear mandate by the British public to follow through with its manifesto pledges. 

We urge Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer and his party to show true leadership and implement a plan that will ensure the UK meets its 2050 net zero goal. 

At the same time, we call on the Scottish Government to pass the Heat in Buildings Bill during the next parliament to ensure Scotland can meet its own 2045 net zero goal. 

In a recent survey, 79%* of people in Scotland said they see climate change as one of the most urgent issues of our time. 

Climate change is the most significant threat to the environment and our way of life. In Scotland, we have a further crisis in the form of fuel poverty. Scottish homes are some of the least energy efficient in Europe. Around 35% of Scottish households are in fuel poverty, and over 50% of homes have an Energy Performance rating of D or below. 

The link between the climate crisis and fuel poverty crisis is clear. Relying on oil and gas for home heating leads to higher, unaffordable energy bills. It also produces almost 13% of Scotland’s carbon emissions. 

Improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes is key to alleviating fuel poverty, lowering carbon emissions and meeting our net zero targets. 

With all the delays and missed targets in recent years, the UK can’t afford to wait any longer for urgent climate change action.  

*Changeworks commissioned a nationally representative survey of 1,700 adults in Scotland in November ’23 managed by 56 Degree Insight.


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