Institution of Mechanical Engineers comments on the Government's net zero commitment

Published:  13 June, 2019

Matt Rooney, engineering policy adviser at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, comments on the Government’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions to nearly zero by 2050:

“Achieving net zero will require a transformation of our energy system and the deployment of a broad range of new technologies in every sector of our economy.

The UK has made great progress in reducing emissions, in particular from the power sector, but going further will necessitate a major upgrade of our energy infrastructure.

But this should also be seen as an opportunity. In being the first country to legally commit becoming a net zero greenhouse gas emissions economy, we can become more innovative and reap the benefits of leading on the development of the novel technologies of tomorrow.

The importance of skills should not be forgotten in this transition. The engineering challenges involved are daunting and as a country we need to ensure that our workers have the competencies to deliver net zero. With the pace of change we need to remember that our education system will need to evolve to train – and retrain – engineers so that they can thrive in this new world.

There is little doubt that in the same way the Apollo missions to the moon led to a spike in the number of engineers and scientists, a nationwide, government endorsed net zero greenhouse gas programme will lead to the recruitment of more (and more diverse) entrants to the sector.

The UK has already shown what can be achieved through a concerted effort in industries like offshore wind. We should now build on today’s announcement and produce a concrete and costed plan for achieving net zero. “

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