Kwasi Kwarteng says UK can be 'world leaders or laggards' in net zero quest

20 October 2021, 08:29

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Kwasi Kwarteng said the UK had a choice to be "world leaders in this or we can be laggards" in respect of a transition to net zero.

Asked by Nick Ferrari whether electric vehicles and heat pumps were policies popular in the so-called red wall constituencies that secured the Conservative victory in 2019, the Business Secretary had a swift response.

"Didn't the good folk of Redcar and Berry put you and your colleagues put in power to control migration, build hospitals and get more police officers?" Nick asked.

Quizzing Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng the LBC presenter pointed out the Conservative government was not put in power to "put a heat pump in their back garden and drive an electric car."

Mr Kwarteng said: "They put us in power, as you put it, in Government we have (a) responsibility to drive economic growth in this country.

"One of the ways we're doing that is through the green industrial revolution, which is happening worldwide by the way.

"I mean, this is something that is happening now and we have a choice in this country - we can either be world leaders in this or we can be laggards, and this is an opportunity for us to be leaders in this."

The conversation comes as the government has pledged more money for electric cars, on-street charging points and planting trees as part of efforts to drive down climate-warming emissions.

The Government has published its long-awaited "net zero" strategy ahead of crucial UN Cop26 climate talks which the UK is hosting in Glasgow, which ministers hope will set an example to other countries on how to go green.

In what it describes as a "landmark strategy" it details plans to meet legal targets to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, cutting pollution as much as possible and using measures such as woodland creation to mop up what remains.

But critics were quick to warn the strategy, which runs to more than 360 pages, did not provide enough policies or investment to drive the transformation needed to reach net zero.

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