Reaching net zero carbon emissions in the UK is likely to be much easier and cheaper than previously thought, and can be designed in such a way as to quickly improve the lives of millions of people, a senior adviser to the government has said. Chris Stark, the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent statutory adviser, said costs had come down rapidly in recent years, and past estimates that moving to a low-carbon economy would cut trillions from GDP were wrong. “Overall, the cost is surprisingly low – it’s cheaper than even we thought last year when we made our assessments. Net zero is relatively low-cost across the economy,” he said. “But that rests on action now. You can’t sit on your hands and imagine it’s just going to get cheaper by magic.” Renewable energy prices have plunged in the last decade, putting solar and wind at lower cost than fossil fuels in many countries, spurring a global boom in clean power. The International Energy Agency said this week there had been record growth in renewable energy installation in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices. Johnson was due to unveil a 10-point plan on meeting net zero this week, but the Guardian understands this has been postponed to an unspecified date. The points will include green home grants for insulation, an expansion of offshore wind, bringing forward the phase-out of petrol and diesel cars to 2030, investment in carbon capture and storage and nuclear power, and measures to restore the natural environment. “For us to be a good president of Cop26, we need to have a strong set of domestic plans for cutting emissions here in the UK. Then I think there’s every prospect that Cop26 next year will be a celebration of how quickly we’re now moving,” said Stark. “If we don’t get these plans together, we’re not going to have that kind of moment and the UK will have difficulty hosting that summit.”
Guardian 12th Nov 2020 read more »
Boris Johnson has today stepped up calls for world leaders to come forward with ambitious new net zero emission strategies ahead of next year’s COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. Speaking to mark the start of a year-long countdown to the crucial Summit, Johnson stressed the UK was working to strengthen its own net zero strategy and wanted to see other countries come forward with similar plans well ahead of the Glasgow Summit. “That’s why I’ll be setting out my 10-point plan shortly which will not only create thousands of British jobs, but also invigorate our plans to achieve net zero by 2050,” Johnson added. “And that’s why I’m calling on world leaders to put forward their own ambitious commitments to help eradicate our contributions to climate change, before we meet in Scotland next November.” The government’s much-anticipated 10-point plan green recovery plan is expected to be announced this month, providing details on how the government plans to put the UK on a decarbonisation trajectory that delivers net zero emissions by 2050. It is expected to include a raft of new funding and policy proposals designed to accelerate progress in a host of areas, such as clean energy deployment, energy efficiency upgrades, hydrogen production, carbon capture and storage development, and the switch to electric vehicles. It is also due to be followed by a series of white papers and detailed policy documents that are designed to set out precisely how the government intends to engineer a rapid uptick in the pace of decarbonisation across the UK economy. However, the government is reportedly still yet to finalise aspects of the plan with Ministers debating areas such as how to mobilise investment in new nuclear projects and what date to set for ending the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. And earlier this evening Bloomberg reported that the long-awaited Energy White Paper has been delayed again and is now unlikely to be published until after the Treasury’s Spending Review on November 25th.
Business Green 11th Nov 2020 read more »
There is “no time to waste” on climate action, the Prime Minister has warned, as he prepared to unveil a ten-point plan setting out the government’s priorities for the environment. Boris Johnson called on other governments to disclose their own plans for action, calling climate change “the most enduring threat to the futures of our children and grandchildren”. “There is no greater duty for any nation than protecting our people and our planet,” he said. His comments marked a year to the international Cop26 UN climate summit, which was supposed to take place in Glasgow this week, but was delayed to 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan is expected to promise the creation of jobs in green industries, and may include new technologies such as hydrogen fuel and carbon capture, nuclear expansion, and an earlier date for the phase out of petrol cars, which is currently at 2035 but is expected to be moved to 2032 or even 2030.
Telegraph 11th Nov 2020 read more »
Lord Deben praised the government’s newly flagged policy on wind power but was highly critical of housebuilders. He said: “Wind policy gives real security to the industry. It’s good for the economy in Scotland and the north, but a good deal of work is also being done in the Irish Sea, so the work is spread well. Improved energy efficiency and new sources of heating in homes will also mean a huge programme of retrofitting, which will be good news for jobs.
Infrastructure Intelligence 12th Nov 2020 read more »
THE next generation of broadband and mobile technology will play a critical part in helping us achieve challenging climate change targets, according to the head of the Scotland 5G Centre. Julie Snell said that as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, we have travelled and consumed less and witnessed a welcome slowing of the depletion of Earth’s finite resources – so a glimmer of light in the darkness of coronavirus that can make us feel a bit more optimistic about the future.
The National 12th Nov 2020 read more »