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At the Big Tent Ideas Festival “Getting to Net Zero” session, thought leaders including chair Ximena Banegas, Changing Markets Foundation, Tom Bradley, external affairs manager at Cadent Gas, Julian Dean, Mayor of Shrewsbury and the Green Party’s climate officer, Sam Alvis, Head of Green Renewal, Green Alliance and David Elmes, Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School, discussed how Britain can achieve getting to net zero in carbon emissions. 

In the session, the speakers discussed net zero innovation, as well as what are the real costs, opportunities and implications of reaching net zero. This included how the West Midlands can become a net zero hub and what changes are needed to the infrastructure to achieve total net zero. 

Tom Bradley, external affairs manager at Cadent Gas, said: “When we look at net zero, it is often presented as a negative – it’s a tax or similar that will change your lifestyle. We need to flip that on its head and talk about what the opportunities are. After all, there are some great opportunities for the UK and some great global opportunities when it comes to green innovation.” 

Julian Dean, Mayor of Shrewsbury and the Green Party’s climate officer, said: “The fact is we are absolutely not on track. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere tends to go up at a pretty steady rate. What’s true for a lot of Europe is that we’ve exported our carbon emissions and this issue needs to be addressed.”

David Elmes, Professor of Practice at Warwick Business School, said:  “There’s a temptation to think we have time, but we don’t, getting to net zero is quite hard work. We need to build better buildings – the best type of energy is the energy you don’t use. Heat is the big challenge – what we must focus on reducing our heat demand. We have to think about what we’re doing because the net zero target leaves you nowhere to hide. We must do a lot more, a lot faster, and a lot harder.”

A full replay of the session can be found on the Big Tent YouTube channel

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