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Government Releases Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener

  • United Kingdom
  • Energy and infrastructure - Clean energy
  • ESG

25-10-2021

It is perhaps no surprise that given the delays in the Environment Bill becoming law that the government has this week announced its new Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener ahead of COP26. The UK is keen to show a leadership position on climate change and is firmly of the view this so called green revolution is a recipe for economic growth.

The Strategy recognises the progress the UK has already made in reducing our emissions. Since 1990 the UK has reduced its emissions by 44% whilst setting out the plans to ensure we make further progress to achieve our net zero target.

Some commentors have argued the strategy does not go far enough and insufficient funding has been made available for the UK to achieve its aims. However, on one level the fact the UK has such a detailed strategy is worthy of note.

The strategy makes clear that the government will be calling for action in relation to ending coal fired power stations, retiring petrol and diesel engines from cars and halting deforestation at COP26.

Whilst the government acknowledges the seriousness of the climate emergency, interestingly there is as much focus on the potential economic advantages that come from being an early mover. Against the back drop of the current energy price crisis, becoming more self-sufficient in energy whether as a result of wind or nuclear power can only be a good thing.

Last year, the government laid the foundations for this strategy when it set out its 10 point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.

The government is aware that it needs to bring the public with it on this journey and the strategy includes some key principles to achieve this:

  • Consumer choice;
  • Ensuring the biggest polluters pay for most of the transition;
  • Protecting the most vulnerable; and
  • Working with businesses to bring down the costs of this new technology.

This is a strategy for the long term – over the next 30 years. There is an acknowledgment there are no quick fixes.

Key aims include:

  • Power – fully decarbonise our power system by 2035;
  • Focus on hydrogen – delivering 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030 whilst halving emissions from oil and gas;
  • Delivering 4 carbon capture, usage and storage clusters by 2030;
  • Setting a path to all new heating appliances in homes and work places from 2025 being low carbon;
  • Addressing transport emissions; and
  • Trebling woodland creation.

It will be interesting to see whether this strategy is sufficient to motivate other countries to take similar action ahead of/as a result of COP26.