UK National Security and the Net Zero Transition

An investigation into UK national security through the lens of net zero, examining fossil fuel import reliance, decarbonisation, and the role and impact of technologies and critical materials.

Main Image Credit Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo | Offshore wind farm

The project investigates the impact of the net zero transition on UK national security through a multidisciplinary lens. It examines the national security impact of fossil fuel import reliance and the current shift away from Russian sources of oil and gas to other producing countries. Particularly, the energy security implications of the shift against a backdrop of increasing reliance on renewables both onshore and offshore are considered.

The project also explores the national security implications of decarbonising manufacturing sectors such as steel, and considers the associated technological, geopolitical and environmental risks from the widespread introduction of net zero technologies. We also look at the geopolitical implications of raw material resource and supply chain dependencies, acknowledging that technology supply chains are inherently complex and plagued by geopolitical tensions. The project will aim not only to examine these risks, but also to come up with potential solutions.

Main Image Credit Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo | Offshore wind farm

Aims and objectives

The UK is facing a historic national security challenge around its energy security and supporting infrastructure as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, combined with the stark need to reach its net zero goals and switch to cleaner sources of energy. Within this context, the core objectives of this research project are to:

  • Engage the public and policymakers in a discussion about the national security implications of the net zero transition.
  • Increase the knowledge base on the UK's transition to net zero through thought leadership and expert analysis.
  • Understand the existing synergy between net zero and national security, and how this relates to solutions in policymaking.

Project sponsors

  • European Climate Foundation

    The research is funded by the European Climate Foundation, who are an independent organisation that fund research and analysis into climate change issues.

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Project outputs and impact

This research project seeks to contribute to future UK energy security policy, and to enhance knowledge in the relatively understudied area of net zero and national security.

We will publish five research papers and produce several video and written commentaries. We will also be recording a 10-part podcast series on Securing Net Zero, which will cover energy and technology dependencies, geopolitics and the social and environmental impact of the net zero transition.

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