If the UK Government adopts the Climate Change Committee’s Sixth Carbon Budget advice and supports businesses accordingly, some 1.7 million new ‘green-collar’ jobs can be created by 2030. That is the headline finding of a new report from think tank Onward, entitled ‘Greening the Giants’. The report looks at the potential economic and job creation of the UK’s net-zero transition, if Government joins up its policy approach and adopts the CCC’s advice for the Sixth Carbon Budget. The CCC’s proposed budget would see the UK reducing emissions by 78% by 2035, against a 1990 baseline. In its recommendations paper on the proposed budget, the CCC calls for a rapid scaling up of sectors including renewable energy generation, electric vehicles, nature conservation and restoration, energy efficiency and carbon capture and storage (CCS). Onward’s report assesses the potential benefits if the UK Government adopts this advice as law – and properly supports its delivery, with a focus on the UK’s most carbon-intensive sectors. It covers 12 sectors dubbed “carbon giants” for the fact that they are each attributable to more than 2% of the UK’s annual emissions: aviation, agriculture, steel, manufacturing, construction, land transport, power generation, shipping and fishing, waste and sewerage, extractives and retail.
Edie 25th March 2021 read more »
UK greenhouse gas emissions fell 8.9 per cent during 2020 amid the unprecedented disruption to the economy wrought by the coronavirus crisis, the latest official provisional data has shown. Almost exactly a year since the first major social restrictions were announced in the UK in a bid to stem the tide of Covid-19, this week’s data shows that as expected various lockdowns and travel restrictions had a major impact on the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions last year. The provisional data, released today by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), shows total greenhouse gas emissions fell 8.9 per cent last year, delivering a remarkable 48.8 per cent fall since 1990, which would on paper put the UK almost half way towards achieving its net zero emissions goal – although much of the heavy lifting for delivering full decarbonisation has barely begun. Much of the drop in emissions in 2020 was driven by a 19.6 per cent fall in transport emissions last year as workers and households stayed at home, leaving roads quiet and planes grounded. Energy demand also plummeted due to reduced industrial activity, which alongside the ongoing phase out of coal-fired power in the UK resulted in a 11.9 per cent drop in greenhouse gas emissions from energy last year, the provisional figures show.
Business Green 26th March 2021 read more »
CAROLINE FLINT AND CAROLINE SPELMAN: Britain stands on the precipice of another industrial revolution, but unlike its predecessors it will be directed by government policy and operate to a hard deadline. If we are to achieve net zero by 2050, as we must, the UK will need to decarbonise industries that currently represent a large share of our jobs and growth. We need a plan to green the giants of the economy. The blunt truth is that we have already picked the low-hanging fruit. The UK is out ahead of most countries when it comes to decarbonisation, having cut back about half our emissions since 1990 through a combination of investment in renewables and offshoring of much of our manufacturing base. What we are left with will be much harder to address. As research for the thinktank Onward shows this morning, twelve industries together make up nearly three fifths of the UK’s carbon emissions. The list includes vital industries such as aviation, agriculture, manufacturing, steel and construction that we cannot simply jettison as we strive towards carbon neutrality. A fifth of all UK jobs are in these industries. They are disproportionately located in industrial heartlands in the north and the Midlands, which we have both represented, and the new political battleground of Scotland. They generate £1 in every £7 of our output every year. If they are going to successfully decarbonise, they are going to need some help, and some incentives, from the government. That means taking the steps now to develop the new technologies that will fuel our clean industrial future, not just hydrogen and carbon capture but also direct air capture and bioenergy, adopting the same arm’s-length approach that has been so successful in developing vaccines in the past year. At the same time, we should be willing to take a more muscular approach to net-zero supply chains. It is illogical that our steel industry is collapsing at the moment when demand for turbines and reactors is booming. The government should mandate that a certain proportion of content in net-zero technologies is sourced from UK supply chains, just as it did in the offshore wind sector deal. This is not about propping up a failing UK industry but about reducing our reliance on heavy goods imports from countries with lower emissions standards than our own.
Times 26th March 2021 read more »