Boris Johnson has promised to achieve the holy grail of limitless cheap energy within the next two decades. A commercially viable nuclear fusion reactor by 2040 is among measures planned by ministers to meet the government’s commitment for Britain to be carbon neutral by the middle of the century. Dozens more “pocket parks” on derelict land and a million trees in the north have been pledged to reduce emissions, encourage exercise and boost community spirit. As well as a billion pound investment in clean vehicles, ministers are promising £200 million for research into nuclear fusion, which would produce carbon-free energy from seawater. Unlike conventional nuclear fission plants, which involve splitting atoms, fusion joins two isotopes of hydrogen to make helium, releasing energy in the process. The technique has been unfeasible for years because it requires controlling plasma heated to 100 million degrees centigrade, hotter than the sun. The Conservatives are placing an emphasis on creating green jobs by backing research into batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and other components of electric vehicles. More energy-efficient homes with reduced carbon emissions are also planned. Ms Leadsom said the pledges were “further evidence” of the benefits of going green. She said: “The Conservatives are doing this properly, creating hundreds of thousands of low carbon jobs and growing our economy while successfully reducing emissions.”
Times 28th Sept 2019 read more »
Boris Johnson has announced the funding of the world’s first nuclear fusion plant, which could power entire towns without creating greenhouse gases or radioactive waste. The Government will spend £220 million on the project, which it hopes will play a key role in reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. The fusion plant announcement came alongside other green pledges, including plans to introduce new energy efficiency regulations for homes from next year. Robert Jenrick, the Housing Secretary, said: “The Future Homes Standard will change the way we build and heat our homes forever.” The Government also announced plans to invest £1 billion in the UK’s electric car industry as well as planting a million trees to create a forest in Northumberland.
Telegraph 27th Sept 2019 read more »
Plans for heavy investment in electric car production, energy reduction measures in all new homes and the planting of one million trees are being promised by Boris Johnson in a £1.2bn package to combat climate change. The moves were set out on the eve of the Conservative conference which is set to be dominated by his Brexit strategy and speculation that Britain is on the verge of a snap election. Although its slogan will be “get Brexit done”, party chiefs are keen to turn the focus on domestic issues such as policing, education and schools and are preparing a series of policy announcements which will form the basis of the next Tory manifesto. The green measures – which also include stepping up research into generating boundless energy through nuclear fusion – are being unveiled as Labour prepares to commit itself to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Ministers are pledging to pump up to £1bn into boosting electric car production, including the development of high-tech batteries and motors to make vehicles more efficient. All new homes will have to be fitted with solar panels or other energy efficiency schemes in moves to reduce CO 2 emissions by one third. The government is committing itself to the planting of up to one million trees by 2024 to create three new forests in Northumberland and to increase funding to turn derelict land in towns and cities into “pocket parks”. It is allocating £200m for the first phase of a drive to achieve nuclear fusion – the process that powers the Sun – which would create an inexhaustible form of energy without any radioactive waste or carbon emissions. Scientists believe it could be commercially available within 15 years and the government is setting a target of establishing a fusion power plant by 2040.
iNews 28th Sept 2019 read more »
The Labour Party wants more green votes after its members backed net-zero emissions by 2030. Cutting pollution to pre-industrial levels in a decade would make Britain a world leader in the fight against global warming, but the financial cost for the average British family could be ruinous. Dubbed the “Green New Deal”, Labour’s proposals would probably involve scrapping the use of natural gas for heating and cooking in around 24 million homes. Burning hydrogen on an untested nationwide scale would be the only feasible alternative to gas heating, alongside greater electrification of households and widespread battery storage. The party’s proposals could also require virtually eliminating the use of fossil fuels in power generation with more renewables, while building expensive plants to suck carbon dioxide from industrial chimneys and store the fumes deep underground in either disused coal mines, or empty gas reservoirs. Finally, the internal combustion engine would have to be outlawed through the mass adoption of electric vehicles. If adopted, all these solutions would be hugely expensive, requiring higher taxation and energy bills, or state subsidies. Their success in cutting emissions to net-zero would also be far from guaranteed, certainly with the current technology that is available. Take replacing natural gas with hydrogen to heat homes, or generate electricity. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and is a clean-burning fuel, which emits water instead of carbon dioxide when burned. In theory, it could be the best solution to the problem of climate change and maintaining existing standards of living. However, there is a catch. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA), hydrogen supply costs are up to five times more expensive than natural gas. Producing usable quantities of hydrogen also requires the burning of fossil fuels. Around 95pc of hydrogen is currently generated by either natural gas, or coal, with none produced from renewables, according to the IREA’s latest report published in September. This would have to change dramatically and other sources of hydrogen found within the next five years if Labour’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions in the next decade were to be remotely achievable. “Hydrogen is now almost completely uneconomic in most respects,” said Bert van der Toorn, managing director of mid-downstream oil, gas and petrochemical investment at ING bank, addressing delegates at the S&P Global Platts European gas and LNG summit this week. “Only with regulation and focus of large institutions do you have a chance.” Even staunch climate change activists say the party’s plans are bordering on being fanciful, while critics would argue they are reckless for the economy and the country’s energy security. “Net zero by 2030 will be extremely difficult, but it may the right date to aim for,” said John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK. “If it can be done, it should be, and if it can’t, then missing the target by a few years, or even a decade, is still a far better outcome than hitting the government’s 2050 target, which is dangerously late.” If hydrogen isn’t currently a practical solution to keep British homes warm in winter without destroying the planet, then carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be more plausible. Extracting carbon dioxide at source from factories and power plants and compressing it would extend the use of abundant fossil fuels, but this too comes at a great cost for consumers.
Telegraph 28th Sept 2019 read more »
New Conservative plans for achieving their net-zero pledge to end carbon emissions by 2050 – including a nuclear fusion plant – have been criticised for lacking urgency and practical solutions. Green groups hit out after the Tories kicked off their annual conference with the first, long-awaited policy changes to help hit the legal commitment to end UK contributions to global warming. Measures to boost the uptake of electric cars, to plant one million more trees and to improve home energy efficiency are described as “another step on the road to the 2050 net zero target”.
Independent 28th Sept 2019 read more »
Ministers will today use the eve of the Conservative Party Conference to announce a new package of measures designed to accelerate the UK’s transition to a net zero emission economy, including strengthened green home standards, new auto industry investment, plans for a Great Northumberland Forest, and fresh support for advanced nuclear R&D.
Business Green 28th Sept 2019 read more »