Britain must engage the public on net zero climate goals -lawmakers

A field of solar panels is seen near Royston, Britain, April 26, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/File Photo

LONDON, July 8 (Reuters) - Britain's government must swiftly publish proposals on how it plans to meet a 2050 net zero emissions target and do more to engage the public on the lifestyle changes needed to meet the goal, a cross-party group of lawmakers said on Thursday.

Britain in 2019 became the G7 first member to set a net zero target, which will require wholesale changes in the way that Britons travel, heat their homes and consume electricity.

"Whether it's decarbonising heating in our homes, reducing our emissions from transport or dealing with changes in the workplace, we know the net zero transition will soon become a lived experience in every home across the country," said Darren Jones, chair of parliament's Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee.

In a report published on Thursday the Committee said the government should publish its net zero strategy as soon as possible. It should also launch a net zero engagement strategy and use the international climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November to motivate Britons in the fight against climate change.

"The Government's failure to engage the public means we risk people viewing the net-zero transition in a negative light and perceiving policy measures as being imposed," Jones said.

In 2019 the government established a Climate Assembly to gather views on how best to meet the goal and to consider the impact on the public. It was made up of 108 citizens from across the United Kingdom with a wide range of backgrounds.

The Assembly said last year the move to net zero must be fair for all citizens and made suggestions such as increasing taxes on air travel the more often and further people fly.

Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Catherine Evans

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