One of Reading’s MPs has expressed concern about a government climbdown on its net zero carbon emission climate goals.

Last week, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak held a speech announcing changes to laws the government aimed to introduce to meet a goal of nationwide net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Headline-grabbing changes included a continuation of the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans until 2035, and allowing households to have enough time to transition to sustainable heating methods.

Previously, the government announced the sale of any new cars and vans but electrics and hybrids would be banned in 2030.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak pushes back ban on petrol and diesel cars sales 

Meanwhile, an initial plan to ban the sale of gas boilers has been scrapped.

Instead, households will only have to switch to air-source heat pumps when they require a boiler replacement, with the government upping funds for its Boiler Upgrade Scheme by 50 per cent to £7,500.

PM Sunak announced the changes in a speech outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, September 20.

READ MORE: Council fears over electricity capacity as hundreds of homes are built in Reading

The adaptation of these goals has been met with concern by Sir Alok Sharma, the Conservative MP for Reading West, who served as the COP26 Climate Conference President.

In a series of tweets, Sir Alok said: “I’m concerned about fracturing of UK political consensus on climate action.

“Chopping and changing policies creates uncertainty for businesses and the public.

“Ultimately this makes it more difficult to attract investment and pushes up costs for consumers.

“The UK has led the world on net zero, climate action and tackling climate change during the COP26 climate conference. 

“Our international partners have concerns about the stance taken. 

“Leading on a green growth agenda is good for the economy, investment, jobs and the environment.”

READ MORE: Less than one in 200 Reading homes have air source heat pumps 

Sir Alok was the President of the COP26 conference in Glasgow.

Nations that attended agreed to a worldwide goal to secure global net zero carbon emissions by mid-century and keep a maximum of 1.5 C degrees of warming within reach.

Following the conference, Sir Alok jet-setted around the world to ensure national governments were meeting the obligations they agreed to at the conference.

His travels took him to Western and developing nations including the USA, South Africa, India (the country where he was born), Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia among other countries.

Sir Alok was knighted for his contributions as a world leader in the effort to tackle climate change in the New Years Honours List 2023.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has asked Sir Alok’s team to contextualise the changes announced by PM Sunak with the work Sir Alok did as COP26 President.

The presidency was transferred to Egyptian diplomat Sameh Shoukry following the COP27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh held last November.

The COP28 conference is due to take place at Expo City in Dubai this later this year.