UK National Security and the Net Zero Transition

This project investigates the impact of net zero technologies on UK national security through their impact on hydrocarbons reliance and emerging technology supply chains.

Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo | Offshore wind farm

The growth of net zero industries has triggered debates about how to protect supply chains for critical technologies required for decarbonisation. At the same time, the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have pushed traditional energy security questions to the top of the political agenda. As the energy transition progresses and the importance of net zero technological grows at the expense of fossil fuels, how will the dynamics of UK national security be affected?

This project examines these questions, starting with questions around how net zero technologies are impacting UK reliance on fossil fuels and the implications for geopolitics and domestic energy sector resilience. It will then move on to new security challenges brought on by increased use of net zero technologies, in particular supply chain security – including risks around critical minerals supply and the role of China. The impact of decarbonisation on risks associated with the steel industry in the UK are also considered.

Zoonar GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo | Offshore wind farm

RUSI project overview

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.


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.

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.

    Find out more

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