The 1,000 pages on the Sixth Carbon Budget stretched across three documents – The UK’s Path to Net Zero, the Methodology Report, and Policies for the Sixth Carbon Budget and Net Zero – are a remarkably in-depth and meticulously referenced blueprint for how to transform a modern industrialised nation into a net zero emission sustainable economy within just three decades. Spare a thought for the climate sceptic bloggers who are even now trying to scan all 1,000 pages in a desperate attempt to find the one out of context footnote or cherry-picked graph they can hang their entirely predictable critique upon. For everyone else, here is the most comprehensive analysis to date of how a net zero emission economy can be built while still improving living standards, bolstering competitiveness and resilience, and maintaining public and political consent. As such you can make a case for it being one of the most important documents ever published. This is not necessarily hyperbole. The unifying thread that runs through the 1,000 pages is the analysis of how the costs of decarbonisation have fallen far faster than even advocates of clean technologies expected. Renewables and energy storage costs have plummeted, there are very good reasons to think hydrogen, heat pumps, and electric vehicles can follow suit. Just a year ago the CCC estimated the UK would need to invest around one per cent of GDP a year to deliver net zero by 2050, but it now believes it may require investment equivalent to around 0.6 per cent of GDP in the 2030s before falling to just 0.5 per cent by 2050. These surprisingly rapid cost reductions have opened up remarkable possibilities.
Business Green 9th Dec 2020 read more »
The UK needs to cut its emissions by 78% below 1990 levels over the next 15 years, according to the latest advice from the Climate Change Committee (CCC). For the first time, the government’s climate advisers have proposed a legally binding “carbon budget” that is in line with the national target of “net-zero” emissions by 2050, which was first set last year. More specifically, the CCC has now set a target for the five-year period 2033-37, which is known as the “sixth carbon budget”. Taking its lead from the UK’s recent climate assembly, which saw citizens offer their views on achieving net-zero emissions, the committee has tried to ensure societal fairness and prioritise “reductions where known solutions exist”. The CCC notes that while the 10-point plan included “a number of welcome measures…gaps remain”. A progress report published by the committee in June documenting the government’s progress towards its climate targets stated that just two of 31 key policy milestones had been met over the past year. The committee highlights a number of policies in the works, including the long-awaited energy white paper, the building and heat strategy and a hydrogen strategy. It calls on the government to bring these policies forward “as soon as possible”. The CCC has a very ambitious vision for decarbonising the UK’s generation of electricity while, at the same time, seeing a dramatic increase in demand through the ramping up of electrification across a variety of sectors. Overall, it recommends “fully decarbonising” electricity generation by 2035, while meeting a 50% increase in demand over the same period (and 100% by 2050), through: Delivering 485TWh of generation by 2035, which should all be low-carbon. This will require 400TWh of new low-carbon generation. Deploying variable renewables at scale, including 40GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030 and sustaining that build rate to support deployment of up to 140GW by 2050. Deploying at least 50TWh of dispatchable and flexible generation (e.g. gas CCS and hydrogen) by 2035 that can balance a system driven by renewables at low emissions. An increasingly flexible system, including from demand-side response (with 20% of demand being flexible in 2035), storage, hydrogen production and interconnection. The CCC also urges the government – by the end of 2021 – to “commit to phasing-out unabated gas generation by 2035, subject to ensuring security of supply”. the CCC does not offer much in the way of advice about new nuclear power, other than to say: “The government should consider contracting models which help make new nuclear projects commercially viable for private developers.” It adds: “The BNZ pathway reaches 10GW of total nuclear capacity by 2035, with 8GW of new-build capacity.” When it comes to storage, the CCC opts for hydrogen as the “primary source”, with an assumption that hydro stays roughly the same as now and batteries offering 18GW of “within-day flexibility” by 2035. Interconnectors triple from a capacity of 6GW today to 18GW by 2050.
Carbon Brief 9th dec 2020 read more »
CCC Launch on video.
CCC 9th Dec 2020 read more »