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Political Leadership

Green Alliance policy tracker: March 2024 update

08 April 2024

The Green Alliance Net Zero policy tracker has monitored government policies since 2020. The March 2024 update compares progress against the emissions pathways set out in the Net Zero Strategy, last updated in 2023. The report concludes that across the whole economy, and for many individual sectors, there is a continued lack of progress on decarbonisation, and adds that ‘strong leadership is missing across the political spectrum’.

Beyond the material threat to decarbonisation this lack of leadership poses, Climate Barometer tracker data is clear that voters want and expect leadership on climate change.

Its absence therefore also undermines policies which require buy-in and acquiescence from the public, including the transition from gas boilers to electrified heat pumps.

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The latest from the Political Leadership timeline:

Policy Insight 30th April 2024

Scotland drops 2030 emissions target but retains 2045 net zero ambition

Following sharp criticism from the Climate Change Committee (which said the Scottish government was failing to deliver on its net zero goals and had no credible delivery strategy), a target to reduce the country’s emissions by 75% by 2030 was dropped.

The Scottish Net Zero Cabinet Secretary Màiri McAllan said she “accepted” the target was no longer achievable.

The Scottish National Party (SNP) seemed reluctant to concede the target they had set was now impossible to achieve. This stands in contrast to the rhetoric deployed by Rishi Sunak in September 2023 when he announced delays to some UK-level net zero goals, positioning them as a ‘burden’ that the government would protect voters from.

The fallout from the SNP’s announcement was immediate and significant.

The SNP’s power-sharing coalition with the Scottish Green Party was dissolved days later, with disagreement over the decision to scrap the 2030 target cited as one of the reasons for the breakdown of the agreement.  Humza Yousaf subsequently resigned as First Minister.

Some commentary suggested that the disagreement over the climate targets reflected the divisiveness of net zero in Scotland, but a poll conducted whilst all of this was unfolding underscored the support among Scottish voters for the country’s net zero ambition.

  • Source: Net Zero Scotland
Opinion Insight 21st February 2024

ECIU polling: more voters had heard about Labour’s green investment ‘U-turn’ than the policy itself

In the wake of Labour’s announcement that their green investment pledge would be scaled back, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) commissioned snap polling from Opinium.

Only 14% of people reported being ‘very aware’ of Labour’s (previously) proposed £28 billion a year investment plans. This is worth noting, as a significant amount of debate within green policy circles has focused on this specific number (but most of the public wasn’t aware of it in the first place).

Roughly double the number of people (26%) said they were ‘very aware’ of the decision to reduce the £28 billion pledge, though, suggesting that for a significant number of people, the intense media debate around whether or not Labour would ‘U-turn’ would have been the first time they had encountered the policy.

Read our analysis taking stock of what the policy shift from Labour is likely to have meant to voters here.

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