A report, published on 10 September 2020, has indicated that UK citizens view wind and solar power as critical to meeting net zero.
The Path to Net Zero report is the final report published by Climate Assembly UK, set up to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle climate change.
The report concludes large majorities of assembly members that provided input strongly agreed or agree that three ways of generating electricity – offshore wind, onshore wind and solar – should be part of how the UK gets to net zero.
Offshore wind score 95%, solar power 81% and onshore wind 78%.
Assembly members tended to see these technologies as proven, clean and low cost, with wind-based options suitable for a “windy” UK, the report highlighted.
Offshore wind had key additional benefits, particularly being “out of the way”.
Solar power was viewed as flexible in terms of where it can be located, among many other advantages.
Some assembly members suggested a range of points to bear in mind when implementing all three technologies. These included their location and environmental impact, progress on electricity storage, ways to incentivise and facilitate uptake, visual design, and where they are manufactured.
The report found assembly members were “much less supportive” of bioenergy, nuclear and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage.
The recommendations span across 10 areas including electricity generation, travel, food and land use as well as greenhouse gas removal.
Six Select Committees of the House of Commons commissioned the Citizens’ Assembly to understand public preferences on how the UK should tackle climate change because of the impact these decisions will have on people’s lives.
Climate Assembly UK handed its work back to the committees with the final report.
In a statement opening the report, assembly members said that it is “imperative that there is strong and clear leadership from Government” that should “forge a cross-party consensus that allows for certainty, long-term planning and a phased transition” and stress that “now is not the time for scoring party political points.”
Chair of the BEIS Select Committee, Darren Jones MP, said: ““This is an extremely important contribution to the debate on how the UK reaches our net zero target and I hope it gives impetus to policy makers to take bold action to reduce our emissions.
“The range of voices within these pages reflect our population. The fact that assembly members have been able to arrive at clear recommendations whilst respecting each others’ values and experiences sets an example for us all.”