The UK Government has published its highly-anticipated response to the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) advice on meeting net-zero carbon by 2050, including new measures to decarbonise business buildings and transport, and to support the uptake of energy storage at scale. Published this afternoon (15 October) to mark four months since the UK’s net-zero target was enshrined in law, the response paper states that the Government is aligned with the majority of the CCC’s recommendations. It claims that the UK Government has allocated £2bn to decarbonisation projects since the amendment to the 2008 Climate Change Act was ratified, with much funding being allocated across the fields of hydrogen, carbon capture and green finance. On the built environment, which accounts for 40% of national energy use and around one-third of emissions, the response paper includes a proposal for all rented commercial building to be required to operate at a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC band B by 2030. This alone, the Government claims, could save businesses £1bn per year in energy bills. A consultation on the introduction of mandatory “in-use” energy performance ratings for all business buildings will also take place in 2020, the response states – as will the publication of a review by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) on climate adaptation in the built environment sector. As for transport, which recently overtook power as the UK’s most emitting sector, the response confirms that the Government will develop a plan to decarbonise “every single mode of transport”. It states that the Department for Transport (DfT) will “immediately” begin the groundwork for the plan ahead of its publication next year – a task which will require much collaboration with local authorities, businesses and trade bodies.
Edie 15th Oct 2019 read more »
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom rounded off a flurry of environmental announcements from the government this afternoon, with a Select Committee appearance in which she promised the UK would come forward with a new “pathway” to meet its net zero emission target for 2050 ahead of next autumn’s COP26 Summit in Glasgow. In a wide-ranging session before the Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee, Leadsom reiterated the government’s commitment to the UK’s net zero target – which she said was the Department’s first priority – and sketched out some of the measures Ministers hope can put the country on track to meet the goal. The UK is currently off track to meet its medium-term emissions targets for the late 2020s, which are themselves based on an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050 rather than the new net zero goal. As such, the government has faced increasingly vocal calls from businesses and campaigners to come forward with a new plan detailing how it plans to accelerate the current pace of emissions reduction, especially in harder to decarbonise areas, and meet the 2050 target.
Business Green 15th Oct 2019 read more »
The government has promised to go “further and faster” to cut greenhouse gases after its annual progress report warned current policies and plans are insufficient to meet targets to cut emissions in the 2020s and 2030s. The Committee on Climate Change (CCC), the government’s advisory body, warned action is lagging behind what is needed to meet legal climate targets. In its response, the government has announced plans to improve the energy efficiency of private rented commercial buildings, which officials said could deliver savings of £1bn a year in businesses’ energy bills by 2030. The moves could include setting minimum energy efficiency standards for rented commercial buildings of level “B” by 2030 – the second highest rating of seven. A consultation is being launched on proposals to make it simpler to obtain planning permission for large-scale energy storage facilities, such as large battery units for storing power. Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “We’re pleased to see the government is holding its hands up in recognition that it must go further and faster in order to end our contribution to the climate emergency. “Raising the energy efficiency standards in commercial buildings should significantly reduce emissions if properly enforced, and would be a substantive step forward. However, the baby steps taken in other sectors leave masses still to be done.” The government has also pledged “ground-breaking” plans to end emissions by 2050 across all modes of transport, the sector which is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases across the UK. The plan is being developed and will be completed next year. However, Greenpeace said new petrol and diesel cars should be phased out by 2030. It also recommends the government introduces a strategy to reduce demand for aviation, including no Heathrow expansion.
Independent 15th Oct 2019 read more »
The UK government has today set out how it will go “further and faster” to tackle climate change – four months after the country became the first major economy to legislate for net-zero emissions by 2050. It has also introduced its new Environment Bill to Parliament, which it says signals “a historic step change in the way we protect and enhance our precious natural environment”. In July, the government opened for consultation its assessment of a new financing model aimed at reducing the cost of new nuclear power plant projects by having consumers pay upfront through their energy bills. A solution is needed urgently because nuclear energy is seen as a vital part of the government’s commitment to cutting the country’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. Seven of the UK’s eight existing nuclear plants are set to be retired by 2030. Noting that the consultation period ended yesterday, the UK’s Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) said consumers could pay “significantly less” for low-carbon electricity from future nuclear power plants as a result of the proposed Regulated Asset Base (RAB) model. This encourages investment into major infrastructure projects by delivering reliable returns, at a reduced rate, before a plant is operational. The NIA said this reduces the need for large-scale, long-term borrowing at high interest rates, which significantly increases the cost of power. “The risk of going over budget is far outweighed by the potential reduction of financing costs which have a huge effect on bills,” Tom Greatrex, CEO of the NIA, said. “This makes the RAB a potential win-win for consumers and investors, in addition to helping us meet our national energy and climate goals.” Also in July, the CCC advised that to reach net zero by 2050, 38% of the UK’s power generation needs to come from ‘firm’ low-carbon power, like nuclear power, which provides around 20% of the UK’s electricity and over a third of all low-carbon electricity.
World Nuclear News 15th Oct 2019 read more »
The Environment Secretary has admitted to being a member of a British Airways airmiles club despite government climate advisers demanding they be banned. Ministers introduced a new “landmark” Environment Bill on Tuesday that will tackle emissions to improve the country’s air quality, as well as bringing in charges for single-use plastics. It comes after former prime minister Theresa May committed the UK over the summer to have net zero carbon emissions by 2050. A report published on Monday by the Government’s Committee on Climate Change recommended all airmiles schemes be banned because they encourage frequent and excessive flying. Asked whether she was part of such a scheme, Ms Villiers replied: “I do take flights but that is unavoidable with my job. I am in the BA airmiles group. But I would say this Environment Bill is about supporting people to make environmental pledges.” The Government has committed to a ban of all petrol and diesel cars on UK roads by 2040, while Labour wants to introduce a ban on such vehicles by 2030. A parliamentary committee report recommended regular cars be banned by 2032 in order to help the country meet its zero emissions targets. But when asked on Sky News whether she “practised what she preached”, Theresa Villiers admitted she owns a “regular petrol car like many others”, adding she hoped to change to a lower emissions car “in due course”. Environment Minister Zac Goldsmith described the proposed Environment Bill as a “world leading bill”, but it faces an uncertain future with a general election looming. Under the measures, a tax on items such as plastic cups and straws will be imposed in a similar way to the successful 5p carrier bag charge, which has led to a 90 per cent reduction in use since 2015.
iNews 15th Oct 2019 read more »