Resolution Foundation

The Carbon Crunch

Turning targets into delivery
Net Zero

This report is the launch paper for the net zero strand of the Economy 2030 Inquiry, a joint project between the Resolution Foundation and the London School of Economics. It outlines how net zero can be placed at the centre of the UK’s economic strategy and the importance of the next decade in getting back on track to our climate targets, but doing so in a way that shares the costs and benefits of the transition fairly.

Moving from a period of setting ambitious targets to delivering impactful policies will see net zero have a greater impact on people, on places and on firms. Only by careful consideration of the distributional impacts of decarbonisation will this occur in a way that minimises disruption and manifests as many co-benefits, such as cleaner air and warmer homes, as possible.

The debate around net zero is currently polarised between proponents calling for more ambitious targets and opponents pointing selectively to the costs involved in meeting these goals. Instead, focus needs to shift to actually delivering on decarbonisation, being honest about the costs involved, and crucially protecting lower income households from an unfair cost burden while ensuring that benefits are shared.

As such, we set out a three-part agenda that will position net zero at the core of the UK’s economic model:

  • Wrestling with change.
  • Managing costs fairly.
  • Updating our economic strategy to reflect the fundamental changes in context.

Careful consideration of these will ensure that the coming decade will see both an acceleration in the pace of decarbonisation, as well as the centralisation of net zero into core economic thinking along other major drivers of change, such as Brexit and the recovery from Covid-19.


For all research queries about this report, please contact Jonathan Marshall. For press queries, please contact the Resolution Foundation press office.

Jonathan Marshall
Senior Economist,
Resolution Foundation

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