This post is by Jess Ralston, analyst at ECIU. This article was originally posted on ECIU’s blog
Growing new jobs and the skilled workforce to do them is an essential part of the net zero transition, and represents both a challenge and an opportunity. In the same way the internet has radically changed a swathe of jobs and sectors, and continues to do so, low carbon technology is already disrupting major industries. Elon Musk is having his day.
To most people ‘infrastructure’ is an abstract word. Something engineers and policy wonks worry about, which has little to do with their everyday lives. And yet, from the buildings we live and work in, how we move around, the way we get our energy and water, to the systems that give us access to food and other goods, infrastructure is the backbone of our economy and our society. It governs all of our choices, including how green we can be.
The UK may see itself as a climate leader, with cross-party support for a net zero goal. But, last week, local politicians granted planning permission for a proposed coal mine on the West Coast of Cumbria. Burning the coal from the mine, to make steel, will release nine million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year. That’s more than double Cumbria’s total current emissions. (There’s more on the background to the mine in this briefing.)
When the UK’s first national citizens’ assembly on climate change was announced in 2019, no one could have imagined that its results would be revealed as the country was reeling from a health crisis and a huge shock to the economic system.
This post is by Jill Rutter, senior fellow at the Institute for Government.
Much of the political debate around climate change has focused on the ambition of the target. Last year Theresa May upped the target laid down in the Climate Change Act, accepting the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC’s) assessment that the UK could reach net zero in 2050. In the election there was a competition over dates: Lib Dems offered 2045; Labour hinted at 2030. Extinction Rebellion want to eliminate all emissions by 2025.
This post is by Jan Rosenow and Samuel Thomas of the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). It was first published in Utility Week.
For months, we have been waiting for the UK government’s proposal for the future of clean heat policy. After committing to a net zero carbon target for 2050, the need to take aggressive action now to drive down emissions from heating became clear. Surely the government would announce something bold or step up support for climate friendly heating technologies? We could not have been more disappointed. Read more
As an environmentalist, I’m not a big fan of offsetting. Not only does it probably lead to increased pollution, absolving us of responsibility for our emissions, but carbon credits have also been notoriously poor at actually delivering the carbon reductions they claim. I’ve not set foot on a plane since 2011 as I struggle to justify flying, even with a carbon offset. Read more
The BBC ran a story this week with the headline ‘The UK can’t go climate neutral before 2050’, citing an important report from the independent research body, the Energy Systems Catapult (ESC). That report details a set of pathways to getting the UK to net zero by 2050 and is careful to highlight that it is not prescriptive. While we cannot expect nuance in a news headline, suggesting that it is impossible to hit net zero carbon before 2050 belies the very nature of innovation. Read more
In a week’s time, the government will unveil its first budget. It will be keen to deliver on the big spending promises pledged in the Conservative manifesto, particularly in the newly won northern constituencies. The manifesto also promised to prioritise the environment. Read more
On 4 February, the government launched COP26 with more of a whimper than a bang. The UN summit, to be hosted in Glasgow in November, is arguably the most significant international climate moment since Paris in 2015. 2020 is the year when all countries will need to ratchet up the promises they initially made five years ago and set out clear plans to achieve them. Read more