Skip to main content

Achieving net zero

In June 2019, the government passed legislation committing it to achieving ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This means that the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions should be equal to or less than the emissions the UK removes from the environment either by the natural environment or carbon capture technologies. Achieving net zero will require wide-ranging changes to the UK economy, including further investment in renewable electricity generation, as well as changing the way people move around, how land is used and how buildings are heated. The all-encompassing nature of achieving net zero means that all government bodies, including departments, arm’s-length bodies and executive agencies have a role to play.

This study applies our experience from auditing previous cross-government challenges to highlight the main risks the government needs to manage to achieve net zero. The report describes the cross-government arrangements that have been established to achieve net zero and which departments and organisations have a key role. It also considers whether the government is managing the reduction of its own greenhouse gas emissions effectively.

We are working on a companion report on how government is organised to achieve the ambitions in its 25 Year Environment Plan, which will be published separately.