The UK’s goal of reaching net zero territorial emissions by 2050 is a massive undertaking. It will involve concurrent, coordinated transformation of multiple vital and interconnected infrastructure systems – from transport to housing, and from agriculture to heavy industry.

Decarbonisation on this timescale is primarily a challenge of deploying known technologies at unprecedented scale and pace. Engineering expertise will be central to delivering this transition to a prosperous and sustainable society. During this Parliament, confident and difficult decisions will need to be made that will permanently shape the course of the UK’s path to decarbonisation. 


Launch paper: Net zero – a systems perspective on the climate change (743.92 KB)


In January 2020, the National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC) began a programme of work to explore, inform, and advise policymakers on some of the hardest cross-cutting challenges and the opportunities that need to be addressed.

Net zero: a systems perspective on the climate challenge will develop a supporting evidence base to underpin the NEPC’s advice and insights, and will partner with stakeholders at local and national level, across government, industry and academia to shape and support the UK government’s domestic and global policy on net zero. 


Launch paper

The launch paper sets out the aims and scope of the NEPC’s programme of work on net zero. It debates the scale and complexity of the net zero challenge, the need for systems thinking in tackling this challenge and the role of engineers alongside other disciplines.

Net zero – a systems perspective on the climate change (743.92 KB)

Engineering creativity, systems thinking and problem-solving will be vital in realising opportunities of decarbonisation and ensuring that the broadest societal and economic benefits are fully achieved. The working group will publish evidence and findings as they emerge, to ensure timely evidence-based advice is available to inform decision-making.



If you are interested in learning more about the project, please email