The UK Government Reveals Detailed Strategy To Cut Industrial Emissions
(Credit: Manuel Sechi from Pixabay)
Sustainability World News

The UK Government Reveals Detailed Strategy To Cut Industrial Emissions

The UK government has revealed the blueprint of its fund to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will spend over £1billion helping hospitals, schools, and industry cut emissions by two-thirds within 15 years and encourage the growth of new low-carbon technologies in the country.

Kwasi Kwarteng, UK’s Business and Energy Secretary, said:

We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector. Ahead of Cop26 [the UN climate summit to be hosted in Glasgow this November], the UK is showing the world how we can cut emissions, create jobs, and unleash private investment and economic growth.

The news about the £1bn in funds is old. This blueprint is a continuation of that, setting out the spending details – like which projects will get how much. It also expands on the government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, published last year, which marked the country’s first stride toward reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

The UK Government Reveals Detailed Strategy To Cut Industrial Emissions
(Credit: Getty Images)

The strategy’s purpose is to support industry decarbonization while encouraging the growth of new low-carbon industries for skilled job creation. It gives businesses long-term certainty to invest in technologies like carbon capture and storage and make changes to waste less energy. Also included in the plan is the intention to prevent industrial activity outsourcing, which unfairly shifts the burden of emissions reduction to other countries.

Kwarteng said:

We’re taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector. While reaching our climate targets will require extensive change across our economy, we must do so in a way that protects jobs, creates new industries, and attracts inward investment – without pushing emissions and business abroad.

The blueprint allocates £171m to an industrial decarbonization fund to be divided among nine green engineering projects, including:

  • The HyNet North West project in Merseyside where the region will be turned into a low-carbon industrial cluster through hydrogen and carbon capture.
  • In Aberdeenshire, offshore and onshore engineering studies will connect industrial sites with carbon sequestration sites below the North Sea.
  • A pair of projects in Teesside – one to create a flexible gas power plant that uses carbon capture and the other an offshore carbon transport and storage system.
  • A project (one of the first low-carbon hydrogen production plants) in the industry-heavy region of Humber aiming to become a net-zero cluster by 2040.
  • And a project focused on carbon capture and hydrogen in South Wales to create a net-zero industrial zone spanning from Pembrokeshire to the Welsh border.

The strategy will support the creation of 80,000 jobs over the next 30 years while cutting industry emissions by two-thirds in 15 years.

Separately, approximately £932m have been allocated to 429 projects to upgrade public buildings across England, including hospitals, council buildings, and schools. The projects involve moves that will reduce carbon emissions like energy efficiency measures (such as LED lighting and insulation) and low-carbon heating systems (like heat pumps).

Areas to benefit include:

  • Manchester, where 36 schools, 22 leisure centers, the transport authority, police and fire service will collectively receive about £78m for upgrades.
  • Leicester, where 93 city council buildings including 56 schools will collectively receive £24m for upgrading.
  • Hertfordshire county council will get £24m to upgrade 183 council buildings, including 23 emergency service buildings and 74 schools.

Ed Mathew, green thinktank E3G’s campaigns director, said:

This will help slash carbon emissions [from public sector organizations] while helping them to save millions on their energy bills – it’s a no-brainer. The government now needs to put in place a long-term funding program to help all households to do the same, following recent cuts to the flagship Green Homes Grant scheme.

The UK Government Reveals Detailed Strategy To Cut Industrial Emissions
(Credit: Michi-Nordlicht from Pixabay)

It also proposes a fee on carbon emissions to nudge firms towards clean alternatives and includes funding to help the steel industry reach net-zero by 2035.

Jonathan Marshall, an Energy and Climate Information Unit associate, told the BBC:

Questions remain around the pace of change in the steel sector. The global race towards clean steel production is well underway, and the UK is behind the pack. Increased ambition in the short term can help to lock in high-skilled, high-paid jobs for decades, preserving Britain’s proud steelmaking history for generations.

However, environmentalists and opposition parties argue that the government funding isn’t nearly enough – that it will require a multi-billion-pound transition to clean steel like competitor nations such as Germany have done.

Roz Bulleid, Green Alliance thinktank’s deputy policy director, said:

The country needs to move quickly if our steel industry is not to be left behind. Other countries, such as Germany and Sweden, already have trials for low carbon steelmaking using hydrogen. It is becoming increasingly clear that the steel industry’s future will need to be based around clean steel that does not add to our carbon footprint.

Ed Miliband, Labour’s shadow business secretary, pointed out:

Once again, the government talks a big game on green but doesn’t deliver with nearly the scale or ambition that’s necessary. None of this money is new – these announcements simply allocate money already announced. Strip away the rhetoric, and we see the fact that while Germany is investing €7bn (£5.9bn) in a hydrogen strategy, our government is investing a tiny fraction of that. We need an ambitious green stimulus to support the industry to decarbonize and secure jobs for the long-term, starting with a £30bn green recovery. The government has failed to deliver yet again.

Arguments aside, the blueprint signals momentum in the right direction, which is a good thing.

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