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You can ‘fly off on holidays and eat steak’ under net zero, says top climate adviser



Amid a debate that has focused recently on the price tag of moving to net zero, Mr Stark said it was important to think about costs, but warned there was a “misrepresentation” of them.

“They are investments, which pay back and they take us to a more productive economy, where there’s more sustainable jobs in the future.”

And he said: “These technologies, particularly the energy technologies, are so cost competitive that if you can build your whole economy around them, your economy will also be cost-competitive, and you don’t want to miss out on that.

“So this sort of fear of missing out – FOMO – needs to be brought back into the discussion of climate change, because I think that’s far more motivating for politicians.

“You don’t have to be a climate specialist or advocate to want to see us compete as a country.”

He added that the UK had led so much of the early part of the transition, that “it seems weird that we want to step off now”.

Mr Stark acknowledged that the next period would be “tricky” because money was tight, but said the investments would be replacing dirty assets with clean ones and would pay back fairly quickly.

“The arguments still stack up to do all this. We’re going to need to have some bold leadership.”

Mr Stark described Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s speech last year, rowing back on climate targets, including pushing back the date for phasing out sales of conventional cars, as “unhelpful”, as a faster transition to clean vehicles is a key part of meeting the UK’s 2030 goals for cutting emissions.

But he also said: “I’m not handing criticism out to any one party, I think there is a general retreat from owning this stuff on net zero.”

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