MP Derek Thomas says new legislation designed to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 could provide a wealth of skilled and well-paid job opportunities in West Cornwall but believes that the target is not ambitious enough.
Speaking in Parliament on the day the Net Zero announcement was made, Mr Thomas said that the news would be particularly welcomed in Cornwall which had been one of the first areas in the country to declare a climate emergency.
“They will be glad to hear the commitment today, not least for the opportunity to create well paid, skilled jobs by doing the right thing,” he said.
Mr Thomas said the Committee for Climate Change recommendations refer to the need for a massive skilled jobs’ programme in fields such as smart metering, energy storage, home efficiency improvements and waste food management.
With this in mind, he called on the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to work with the Department of Education and Treasury to provide the necessary funding to help colleges of further education provide the training for these skilled jobs.
Afterwards, Mr Thomas, a member of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) MP Caucus, which has consistently pushed for a net zero commitment from the Government, said he was pleased with the response of Business Secretary Greg Clark but warned that the UK needed to be more ambitious in its Net Zero aspirations.
“It was good news that the Minister said he would work to achieve this - he gave the example of the offshore wind sector deal where identifying the necessary skills was a major factor and said that this model could be rolled out to other green energy sectors.
“However, regarding the 2050 Net Zero date, I do believe that we can and must work harder to become carbon neutral as soon as possible if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change.”