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Issue 1835 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Grantham Institute director blasts Rishi Sunak's climate U-turn

Alyssa Gilbert has co-authored a letter accusing the PM of ‘watering down’ UK climate commitments.

Flx Rishi U Turn Photo: Jamie John


in Issue 1835

Grantham Institute Director of Innovation Alyssa Gilbert has co-authored a letter urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to rethink his new climate strategy

‘Watering down the country’s climate commitments at this time risks sacrificing hard-won credibility that has been crucial to instilling business confidence and making the UK an attractive location for green investments,’ reads the letter, written by leading climate entrepreneurs and policy experts.

It comes in the wake of Sunak’s September ‘speech on Net Zero’, in which the Prime Minister signalled a rollback of the UK’s net-zero plans, including delays to a ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars, and a scrapping of energy efficiency targets for UK homes. Sunak slated those “who argue with an ideological zeal that we must move even faster and go even further no matter the cost or disruption to people’s lives.”

This week’s letter hits back at the Prime Minister, asserting that there are ‘clear benefits to rapid action on [the UK’s net-zero goals], and huge risks to slowing down.’

Signatory and venture capitalist Gregory Dewerpe accused the government of ‘astonishing political short-termism’ in its revised net-zero strategy.

The letter calls on Sunak to ‘unleash growth by creating an economic plan that prioritises green investment’ and ‘leverage the power of innovation and technology to take real action on climate’. 

‘As the UK cleantech community gets ready for climate negotiations at COP28 next month, we have an opportunity on a global stage to show leadership.’

‘We should recognise that investing in climate tech isn’t just the right thing to do, it also has the potential to turbocharge our economy and ofer a great return on investment.’

Among the signatories are UCL climatologist Professor Mark Maslin, and Hoa Doan, sustainability lead for start-up Notpla. Notpla was founded by two Imperial graduates and last year won Prince William’s £1-million Earthshot Prize.

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