While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.

Policy report

This report highlights a series of decisions where ministers seem to have undermined their own climate objectives, including on the Cumbria coal mine, roadbuilding, cutting air passenger duty on domestic flights, and boosting UK oil and gas production.

The authors argue that the UK government needs to tackle incoherent policy-making if it is to meet its net zero target.

Several organisations have called for a 'net zero test' to ensure ministerial decisions are compatible with the long-term climate commitment. But this report, which examines the experience of using policy tests in other areas like equality, argues that while such a test could be helpful it would not be sufficient to prevent ministers rationalising away decisions that seem to undermine wider government objectives.

The report also calls on the government to:

  • ensure that any policy decision with a significant impact on its ability to stick to the net zero pathway is subject to collective cabinet committee decision making
  • produce assessments alongside budgets and spending reviews of the impact on its ability to deliver the net zero target
  • consider creating a new independent function or body charged with forecasting the emissions impact of policies and other changes in the economy. This could sit between the OBR and the Climate Change Committee, following a model used in Denmark.
    Publication Details
    Access Rights Type: