Bishop & Sewell

Earlier this month, the 4th of July, was the hottest day on Earth. The average global temperature reached 17.18 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature ever recorded by human-made instruments. The Met Office also recently reported that June was the hottest month recorded in the UK and they were quite clear that this was linked to climate change, writes Thom Wilkinson, a Partner in our Property and Environmental Law team.

For those of us invested in this area, it is concerning that the story lasted minutes – literally and then the media’s interest moved on. We might well believe this is the most important agenda item, but we have to ask ourselves why is this not resonating more widely, and driving a sense of urgency that we need to get a handle on before it gets out of control?

Despite evidence of the world warming, there is still a significant amount of comment in the British media questioning the net zero transition and our need to act, casting doubt on technology and framing this as something we simply can’t afford in the current cost of living challenge.

As Unlock Net Zero say in their excellent newsletter it is easy to scream they are wrong. But we must listen and engage and seek to allay their concerns. There is so much good decarbonisation activity underway that we need to showcase it and explain to people first hand why it is beneficial. People learn from each other. We should make this practical to everyday life and speak human when we do it.

Putting aside our legal commitments as a country, the UK must show people why we have to change. We should explain how these temperatures affect people’s everyday lives and what it means as we move forward. If economics is the driving force at the moment, lets show how the low carbon alternative can make economic sense and improve lives. Yes the benefit might not be immediate and direct, but lets not shy away from that.

I personally don’t see this as an either/or debate. Decarbonisation is going to need new business models, new financial models, new skills, lots of innovation and a willingness to tackle the problem.

I’ll finish with another ‘Quote of the Week,’ from Unlock Net Zero: “The social housing sector has challenging targets to meet in relation to energy efficiency and carbon emissions. While a lack of funding is certainly a barrier to achieving these goals, so is knowing about and understanding the best and most suitable technologies which are available.”

Let’s keep talking.


Contact our Property Team

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please do get in contact, quoting ref CB408. Thom Wilkinson is a Partner specialising in Property and Environmental Law and is contactable on: +44 (0)20 7692 7581 or

The above is accurate as at 17 July 2023. The information above may be subject to change.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 17th Jul 2023

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