The prime minister is to chair a new cabinet committee on climate change to drive action to cut emissions across the government. It follows long-standing criticism that some departments – especially transport – have failed to play their part in combating global heating. This sort of top-level co-ordination is what green groups have been urging, but they’re still critical of other policy details. Greenpeace, for instance, says it has spotted a huge loophole in the Environment Bill introduced this week. It aims to improve air and water quality, tackle plastic pollution and restore nature, once the UK leaves the EU’s environmental laws. A new regulator is being given powers to take the government to court if it fails to meet agreed green targets. But Greenpeace lawyers point out the date for setting those targets is 31 October 2022 – and the government will then have 15 years to meet the goals.
BBC 16th Oct 2019 read more »
A new report by Aurora Energy Research has concluded that the United Kingdom will require at least 100GW of new wind and solar capacity by 2050 as well as 30GW of short-duration energy storage to balance the output. The Oxford-based Aurora Energy Research published its findings this week to coincide with a discussion amongst leaders from across the energy industry held at its Battery Storage and Flexibility Conference. The company – which bills itself as “the leading independent European energy market analytics company” – concludes in its latest analysis that delivering a net-zero power system will necessitate a significant expansion of low-carbon generation capacity.
Renew Economy 17th Oct 2019 read more »
Dave Elliott: A “net zero” carbon emission targets has been set by the UK, amongst others, for 2050. The European Union (EU)’s version fudges the date, due to opposition by some coal-reliant countries to the 2050 initially specified. But whatever the date, the net zero formulation does not usually specify how net zero emissions are achieved, so in principle any project will be acceptable if it can claim to avoid, or compensate for, carbon dioxide production. These can include carbon offset and carbon removal projects, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes. Some argue that this mixes up basically conflicting policy approaches — emission avoidance and post-generation carbon removal. Emission avoidance at source is about decarbonising energy production and use, for example by switching to using renewables or by using energy more efficiently, so less carbon dioxide is produced. By contrast, carbon removal is about compensatory post-fossil-generation carbon dioxide clean-up, for example by Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and Negative Emission Technology (NET). We do have to be careful about over-reliance on carbon removal. Like adaptation, capturing carbon and storing it somewhere may buy us some time but it is not a permanent solution — we can’t just keep sweeping emissions under the carpet. The climate problem will just get worse if we do not cut emission at source.
Physics World 16th Oct 2019 read more »
Government responses to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) 2019 progress reports to Parliament: 1. Reducing UK emissions, and 2. Progress in preparing for climate change.
DEFRA & BEIS 15th Oct 2019 read more »