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Net Zero Emissions Target

Volume 683: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2020

The hon. Lady will know that the UK’s net zero target is a world-leading initiative. Indeed, it was striking that this month China, Japan and South Korea committed themselves to net-zero carbon targets.

I am a big proponent of electric vehicles. Will my right hon. Friend consider regulatory reform to encourage investment in the electric vehicle infrastructure, such as vehicle-to-grid charging?

My hon. Friend will know that we are taking considerable action to encourage consumers to buy electric vehicles, and we are also investing in the necessary infrastructure. So far we have invested £30 million to support vehicle-to-grid technology, and we will regulate next year to ensure that consumers benefit from smart-charging their electric vehicles.

Recent commentary has highlighted the role of the North sea as a strategic asset for net zero. It could deliver one third of our energy needs via offshore wind, which could increase the utilisation of carbon capture and storage and green hydrogen. What is the role of a carbon pricing mechanism in delivering this?

My hon. Friend, as he often does, raises a pertinent question relating to our energy strategy. Obviously, carbon pricing is at the centre of any move to try to decarbonise our energy mix. We have a track record on this, and we have also committed to 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030, which, through the auction process, is critical to delivering our net zero ambitions.

If we are to sustain public support for the goal of net zero, it is essential that we maximise the benefits of the green transition here at home, but there are far too many examples where the promise of that green transition risks not being realised. One such case is the plight of the BiFab engineering yards in Fife and Lewis, which represents a clear failure to utilise industrial strategy to ensure that British firms win work and sustain decent jobs from the billions of pounds being invested in offshore wind installations just a few miles off the Scottish coast. Citing state aid rules, the SNP Scottish Government appear content to sit back and let the steel jackets in question be manufactured overseas. Can the Minister give a commitment today that the UK Government will step in and safeguard the future of mounting fabrication in the UK and these vital 450 Scottish jobs?

The hon. Gentleman will know that we are absolutely committed to maintaining a UK supply chain for the extra deployment of offshore wind that I alluded to earlier. With regard to this specific issue, we are in conversations with counterparts in Scotland and also speaking to people in the company.