GREEN GB & NI WEEK: Gov Seeks Advice On Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Target

Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry has written to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to ask for advice on setting a date for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions from across the economy, including from transport, industry and agriculture.

Advice is also sought on whether the country needs to review its 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

This makes the UK one of the first in the G7 to formally explore setting an even more ambitious target than its current one. It follows a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), showing more rapid action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid devastating risks of climate change to health and global prosperity.

The Government says it is determined “to do more” and its first-ever Green GB & NI Week (15-22 Oct) will celebrate the progress made while challenging governments, businesses and civil society to rise to the task.

Green GB & NI Week

During Green GB & NI 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.

“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.”

“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 more stark 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.”

Transform Energy Infrastructure

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 government today also announced £106 million to encourage greener construction practices in developing countries to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions, creating opportunities for UK businesses to invest in new markets.

This comes just weeks after the government announced £160 million to help countries transition to cleaner, greener energy. This included £60 million to share the UK’s world leading expertise on energy market reform, green finance and climate legislation to help developing countries seize the opportunities of clean growth.

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.

Creating The “Right Conditions”

To help grow the sector, the government says it is aiming to create the right conditions to ensure businesses can seize those opportunities through its Industrial Strategy.

The government has also earmarked more than half a billion pounds for emerging renewable technologies to give them the certainty developers need to invest while driving down costs for consumers.

Reacting to the UK government’s announcement that it is commissioning independent advice from the Committee on Climate Change on the setting of a net zero target, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Just a week after the publication of the IPCC report highlighting the importance of limiting temperate rises to 1.5°C, the Prime Minister and her government deserve credit for making a formal referral to the CCC to investigate how a net zero emissions target could be set in the UK.

“Targeted innovation support will also increasingly be needed to support businesses in sectors where emission cuts are more complex to achieve such as agriculture, heavy industry and long-distance transport.”

“The development of such a target, which is receiving growing public and cross-party support, could provide significant supply chain growth and export opportunities for the UK if it is accompanied by a clear plan of action.”

Nick Molho added: “In parallel with the CCC developing its advice, it is essential that the government continues progress on its Clean Growth Strategy to deliver on current climate targets. Greater policy detail is urgently needed to drive energy efficiency improvements in commercial and domestic buildings, increase the take-up of zero emission vehicles and support the growth of onshore renewable energy which is key to deliver affordable industrial power prices.

“Targeted innovation support will also increasingly be needed to support businesses in sectors where emission cuts are more complex to achieve such as agriculture, heavy industry and long-distance transport.”

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