Chris Skidmore MP is the former chairman of the UK government’s Net Zero Review. In June 2019 he signed net zero pledges into law, which include a target to end the UK’s contribution to global warming by 2050.
In the latest episode of the Modus podcast Building the Future, Luay Al-Khatib, Director of Knowledge and Practice at RICS, asks Skidmore what his objectives are for the upcoming COP28 conference in Dubai. They also discuss whether the UK is still a leading nation on tackling climate change and how politicians balance short-term targets against long-term environmental goals.
“If we’re going to make net zero by 2050, we’ve got to reduce our emissions by 68% come 2030,” says Skidmore. “The easiest way we can do that is knowing what we can do now, which is to get on with the job of decarbonising our buildings. Having a deadline does give you an impetus to work at speed.”
“Around 90% of global GDP has now signed up in some form to a net zero target. It’s because it has an end date that is manageable and has a landing pathway and it recognises that it’s not making the perfect the enemy of the good.”
Skidmore also highlights the Inflation Reduction Act in the US and how it will affect decarbonisation, as well as how he felt when he signed net zero into UK law and why the UK is well-placed to meet climate change targets.
“We have a wealth of academic and industry expertise that has demonstrated you can decarbonise and not de-industrialise, you can have clean growth,” he says. “Regardless of who is in government, that is going to continue.”
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Chris Skidmore is the MP for Kingswood and former cabinet minister for energy. He is the chair of a cross-party group promoting environmental ambition in parliament and is also a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.
Luay Al-Khatib is the Director of Knowledge and Practice at RICS, with a background in the property and construction sectors, focusing on developing standards in the UK and internationally.