Climate experts advise government on net zero emissions target

Climate experts will advise the government on whether the UK should set a date for a net zero emissions target as the first ever Green GB & NI week launches

To mark the launch of this nationwide week, Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry today (Monday 15 October) wrote to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) asking for advice on:

  • setting a date for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the economy, including from transport, industry and agriculture
  • whether we need to review our 2050 target of cutting emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 levels to meet international climate targets set out in Paris Agreement
  • how emissions reductions might be achieved in industry, homes, transport and agriculture
  • and the expected costs and benefits in comparison to current targets

The UK is already a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change. We led the world with our Climate Change Act, and since 1990 we have led the G7 in cutting emissions while growing our economy on a per person basis. In 2017 we saw renewable energy generation at record levels, and we are among the world’s best in cutting our carbon intensity.

But the government is determined to do more and our first-ever Green GB & NI Week will celebrate the progress we have made while challenging governments, businesses and civil society to rise to the task

During Green GB Week, Claire Perry will also highlight the economic opportunities of moving to an even greener, cleaner economy. There are already almost 400,000 jobs in the low carbon economy and this could quadruple to around 2 million, generating up to £170 billion of annual exports. This is why the government has put Clean Growth at the centre of its modern Industrial Strategy.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “On the global stage, the UK is driving forward action on climate change through our work at the UN and with our Commonwealth partners. To ensure that we continue to lead from the front, we are asking the experts to advise on targets for net zero emissions.

“At home, we are growing an economy that is fit for the future. Over the last year, we’ve generated record levels of solar and offshore wind energy, and just last month I hosted the UK’s first zero-emission vehicles summit. For our first Green GB Week, we are asking businesses and consumers to work with us to consider what more they can do to protect our environment.”

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “We’re a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change and cutting carbon intensity, but the evidence is clear – governments, businesses and communities must take further action to confront one of the greatest global challenges we’ve ever faced.

“That’s why we’re asking the independent climate experts of the CCC for advice on a roadmap to a net zero economy, including how emissions might be reduced and the expected costs and benefits of doing so.

“The case for tackling climate change is starker than ever before. This Green GB Week, we need everyone – the government, businesses and communities – to renew their efforts to confront this global challenge head-on while seizing one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time.”

Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate at WWF said: “Last week scientists from around the world said we had 12 years to tackle climate change. Governments can no longer shirk their responsibilities. It’s time to act and, crucially, embrace the opportunities a green economy presents. Done right, this could be the biggest economic opportunity in history, driving innovation, job creation and better living standards.”

To mark the start of Green GB Week the government today unveiled a package of measures to help transform energy infrastructure to make it cleaner and greener, including:

  • proposals for new laws for smart energy appliances like washing machines and electric heating, laying the groundwork for a smart and clean electricity system of the future with the ambition of making all new buildings smart by 2030
  • opening the £18 million Heat Recovery Support scheme to help businesses become more energy efficient, which could save industry up to £500 million on their energy bills while making manufacturing firms more competitive
  • launching a £320 million government fund in low-carbon heating for cities, appointing Triple Point Heat Networks Investment Management to it
  • and in 2019 we will launch a competition to design the house of the future, more energy efficient, with quality affordable design and easily adaptable to help healthy ageing

The week will see more than 100 events hosted around the country designed to promote the opportunities that come from clean growth and raise awareness of how businesses and the public can contribute to tackling climate change.

Polling commissioned for Green GB Week revealed 60% of 18 to 24 year-olds are interested in ‘green collar’ jobs in the environmental sectors of the economy, the equivalent of more than 3 million young people in the UK. When asked why they wanted to pursue a career in the green economy, two-thirds said it was because they wanted to help tackle climate change while 70% of those surveyed underestimated the number of jobs which could be created in the sector.

To help grow the sector, the government is creating the right conditions to ensure businesses can seize those opportunities through our modern Industrial Strategy. Our world-leading Clean Growth Strategy sets out how we’re investing more than £2.5 billion in low carbon innovation as part of the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation on over three decades.

1 COMMENT

  1. Affordable energy ensures the best possible life for every individual on the planet, so the insanity of our Government’s activities – written large today: ‘first-ever Green GB & NI Week’ – has to be halted.

    I had a feeling of abject depression at this unbelievably naive statement from our intelligent elite, our elected representatives:

    “…During Green GB Week, Claire Perry will also highlight the economic opportunities of moving to an even greener, cleaner economy. There are already almost 400,000 jobs in the low carbon economy and this could quadruple to around 2 million, generating up to £170 billion of annual exports. This is why the government has put Clean Growth at the centre of its modern Industrial Strategy…”

    Because expert comment makes a mockery of such decision making:

    “”…At one of our dinners, Milton [Friedman] recalled traveling to an Asian country in the 1960s and visiting a worksite where a new canal was being built. He was shocked to see that, instead of modern tractors and earth movers, the workers had shovels. He asked why there were so few machines. The government bureaucrat explained: “You don’t understand. This is a jobs program.” To which Milton replied: “Oh, I thought you were trying to build a canal. If it’s jobs you want, then you should give these workers spoons, not shovels.”…””.

    “”…At 36:57, – “The Green Jobs Rationale borders on the preposterous”. To paraphrase: Governments should outlaw the use of heavy equipment for digging ditches and mandate the use of an army of workers using spoons….”There is no analytic difference between inefficient ditch digging and inefficient power generation as tools with which to pursue increased employment”…””.
    [Dr Benjamin Zycher’s videoed statement, Tuesday, March 27, 2012, to the US Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure].

    The answer to zero emissions by 2050 is most definitely not the pursuit or renewable technologies and green jobs. The answer lies in two new developments in nuclear power that have taken place in the last couple of months. Both of stupendous importance in terms of safety and energy economics.

    Firstly, Small Modular Reactors [SMRs] can be sited close to population centres to supply all of the electricity needed and also the heat – the ‘decarbonisation of heating’ headache solved at a stroke.

    Secondly, GE-Hitachi have designed an SMR of such simplicity and low-cost, it will never be bettered. They will be coming off the production line in 10 to 15 years time at a cost below one quarter of that of Hinkley’s EPRs. The earnings from every unit of 24/7, low-carbon electricity generated is 5X greater than that from onshore wind. It will make investment in renewables insane.

    A facebook page for BWRX-300 details all of the relevant information.

    Please, Mrs May, for the dynamic generations of 2050, when our worries and strife will be long gone, turn away from fallacious renewables and move with advanced nuclear SMRs. Rein in your biased and energy-incompetent CCC – now! Better still, disband it.

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