Published: 10:18, 19 August 2021
| Updated: 10:19, 19 August 2021
A Kent MP has put the government on notice that it will need to show both sides of the argument in its drive to tackle climate change.
South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay is leading a backbench group which is set to scrutinise discussions about proposed measures that need to be taken to protect the environment.
The MP is spearheading the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, made up of mainly Conservative backbenchers, to ensure there is a balanced debate.
The MPs are concerned that the forthcoming climate change conference COP26 due to be held in Glasgow could see the UK signing up to unrealistic deals.
The conference is to debate the best ways in which targets for net zero carbon emissions can be reached by 2050.
The conference will be the biggest since the one held in Paris in 2015.
Mr Mackinlay said in an interview that he did not want the government bounced into agreements on climate change that were not viable.
“What I want this group to be is a clearing house, a balanced academic facility where we get all sides of the argument," he said.
"We only seem to get one argument from the climate change committee and when the serious decisions come we want to be fully armed.”
The group is particularly concerned that measures could hit the less well-off disproportionately, as well as the credibility of the steps that could be taken.
Mr Mackinlay said in an interview the emphasis on electric vehicles was a particular issue.
“We are being skewered down the route of just battery vehicles. But there are a lot of hidden costs to the planet here, not least because of the rare metals involved, which are usually produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, involving unspeakable human misery.”
Kent County Council recently brought forward its target for its own assets and property estate after the Conservative-run council said carbon emissions could be cut by 40% in under one year.
It aims to reach net zero carbon across its hundreds of buildings and offices in nine years’ time.
Cllr Susan Carey (Con), KCC’s cabinet member for environment, said she also anticipated that energy costs would reduce by more than £200,000-a-year.
A recently published report on climate change warned that the impact of human activity was changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways.
The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding.
The report was described as "a code red for humanity" but said that if steps were taken quickly, a catastrophe could still be avoided.