This post is by Greg Archer, UK director at Transport and Environment.
The UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 is a milestone in the battle against climate change and an important signal to other EU members still debating whether to match the goal. However, setting targets is the easy part. The devil will be in the detail about how to meet them. This is particularly the case with transport, where emissions have been virtually unchanged since 1990 and now account for a third of UK total greenhouse gas emissions. Read more
2018 was a mixed bag for energy and climate policy. On the plus side, unbeknown to most of its millions of consumers, the UK’s power sector provided a third of the country’s electricity from renewable sources, over twice as much as five years ago. Read more
The government published its Road to Zero strategy this week, as a pathway to decarbonise the road transport sector, the source of a quarter of the UK’s annual carbon emissions. The strategy also aims to show how this transition will make Britain a global leader in low carbon vehicles and their associated infrastructure. Read more
The UK car industry is on edge, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders saying that Brexit uncertainty is threatening investments in Britain’s car industry. On top of this, there has been the long wait for the government’s Road to Zero strategy, which will set out how it proposes to reduce emissions from transport. The future of the sector seems to be in limbo, a situation that is unlikely to be attractive to any car manufacturers thinking of setting up shop in the UK. Read more
Britain’s automotive industry faces a moment of reckoning. Brexit threatens to disrupt its highly sophisticated ‘just in time’ operations while pressure to cut air pollution and go electric risks stranding investment in factories designed for the fossil fuel age. Read more
This post was first published by Bright Blue.
British car manufacturing history is dominated by iconic vehicles like the original Mini and the Jaguar E-type. Both are recognised and associated with British manufacturing across the world. The only electric vehicle (EV) produced in the UK is the Nissan Leaf, not a brand high on the list of cars people know Britain makes. Nor do people see the UK as a leader in the EV revolution, that credit goes to California, the birth place of Elon Musk’s Tesla. Read more
Credit where credit’s due, the UK has shown strong leadership in tackling climate change. We were the first major economy to commit to phasing out coal fired power and we’ve set ambitious, legally binding carbon budgets up to 2032. We’ve also made strong progress towards meeting these carbon targets, having achieved our 2020 target five years early in 2015. Read more
The government’s smart power strategy, Upgrading our energy system, unveiled yesterday, is the ultimate under the radar approach. It contains 29 deeply technocratic changes (such as “developing a Balancing and Settlement Code (BSC) modification, P344”), which are combined seamlessly with the neutered language of “removing barriers” and “making markets work”. It looks boring. But don’t be fooled: if it works, this strategy will deliver radical change. But this is a big if. Read more
Small scale technologies are shaking up the existing energy paradigm, where the only consumer choice is to decide which big and distant power company to buy from. This ignores rapid developments in solar panels, onshore wind, electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage. People are increasingly choosing to be energy owners, and are able to take back at least some control over energy production. Read more
John Steinbeck described the California I grew up in as ‘a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.’ The golden state has always loomed large in the imagination but, in my early years, much of the stink and quality of light was literal: my dad, a Los Angeles native, used to joke that he didn’t trust air he couldn’t see. That’s how bad the air pollution was.