UK Government reaffirms commitment to lead the world in cost-effective clean growth
An ambitious strategy setting out how the UK is leading the world in cutting carbon emissions to combat climate change while driving economic growth, has been published today by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.
‘The Clean Growth Strategy: Leading the way to a low carbon future’ builds on the UK’s strong progress to date. Carbon emissions in the UK have fallen and national income risen faster and further than any other nation in the G7 – since 1990, emissions are down by 42 per cent while the economy has grown by 67 per cent.
The Government’s strategy sets out how the whole country can benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through the creation of new technologies and new businesses, which creates jobs and prosperity across the UK, while meeting our ambitious national targets to tackle climate change.
“This Government has put clean growth at the heart of its Industrial Strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change,” says Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark.
“For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and investing in low carbon innovation. The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way.”
Every action that the Government takes to cut emissions must be done while ensuring our economy remains competitive. The Government’s actions to reduce carbon emissions, through support for renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, have helped to reduce average consumer energy bills and more than offset the cost of Government support for low carbon technologies, and the costs of key technologies such as offshore wind is plummeting.
“The impact of the Paris agreement and the unstoppable global shift towards low carbon technologies gives the UK an unparalleled opportunity,” says Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry. “By focusing on Clean Growth, we can cut the cost of energy, drive economic prosperity, create high value jobs and improve our quality of life.”
For the first time the Government is setting out in today’s Strategy how over £2.5 billion will be invested to support low carbon innovation from 2015 to 2021, as part of the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation in over three decades. This funding covers programmes delivering low carbon energy, transport, agriculture and waste.
That £2.5 billion of existing Government spending includes up to £505 million from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Energy Innovation Programme, which aims to accelerate the commercialisation of innovative clean energy technologies and processes.
There are already more than 430,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains. Today’s policies will provide further opportunities right across the country for more jobs, higher earning power and increased productivity. The low carbon economy could grow 11 per cent per year between 2015 and 2030 – faster than the rest of the economy.
The Government recently announced the establishment of a taskforce of senior financial experts to accelerate growth of green finance in the UK’s low carbon economy. It has been given six months to deliver ambitious proposals to accelerate investment in the transition to a low carbon economy, creating high-value jobs and opportunities for UK businesses. It will examine a range of interventions, from making infrastructure investment more sustainable to scaling-up green mortgages.
Today’s Strategy fulfils the Government’s ongoing commitment to demonstrate how it will continue to deliver carbon reductions. The UK was the first country in the world to introduce a Climate Change Act that sets a legally binding long-term target and a series of five-year caps on greenhouse gas emissions up to 2050. The Government is focused on hitting the fifth carbon budget (2028-2032) with the package of measures outlined today.
Measures set out in the Strategy include funding through the BEIS Energy Innovation Programme of:
- up to £10 million for innovations that provide low carbon heat in domestic and commercial buildings
- up to £10 million for innovations that improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings
- an extra £14 million for the Energy Entrepreneurs Fund, including a new sixth fund
- up to £20 million in a Carbon Capture and Utilisation demonstration programme
- up to £20 million to demonstrate the viability of switching to low carbon fuels for industry
- up to £20 million to support clean technology early stage funding
Further measures include commitments to:
Business and industry efficiency
- Develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, by at least 20% by 2030
- Establish an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills
- Demonstrate international leadership in carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), by collaborating with our global partners and investing up to £100 million in leading edge CCUS and industrial innovation to drive down costs
Improving our homes
- Support around £3.6 billion of investment to upgrade around a million homes through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), and extend support for home energy efficiency improvements from 2022 to 2028 at least at the current level of ECO funding
- We want all fuel poor homes to be upgraded to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030 and our aspiration is for as many homes as possible to be Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2035 where practical, cost effective and affordable
- Develop a long term trajectory to improve the energy performance standards of privately-rented homes, with the aim of upgrading as many private rented homes as possible to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2030 where practical, cost effective and affordable
Low carbon transport
- The Government has announced an end to the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040
- Spend £1 billion supporting the take-up of ultra low emission vehicles, including helping consumers to overcome the upfront cost of an electric car
- Develop one of the best electric vehicle charging networks in the world
- Work with industry as they develop an Automotive Sector Deal to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles
- Invest around £841 million of public funds in innovation in low carbon transport technology and fuels
Clean, affordable energy
- Phase out the use of unabated coal to produce electricity by 2025
- Provide up to half a billion pounds for further Contract for Difference auctions for less established technologies, such as offshore wind, with the next one planned for spring 2019
- Work with industry as they develop an ambitious Sector Deal for offshore wind, which could result in 10 gigawatts of new capacity, with the opportunity for additional deployment if this is cost effective, built in the 2020s
- Deliver new nuclear power through Hinkley Point C and progress discussions with developers to secure a competitive price for future projects in the pipeline
Agriculture and natural resources
- As we leave the EU, design a new system of future agricultural support to focus on delivering better environmental outcomes, including addressing climate change more directly
- Establish a new network of forests in England including new woodland on farmland, and fund larger-scale woodland and forest creation, in support of our commitment to plant 11 million trees, and increase the amount of UK timber used in construction
- Work towards our ambition for zero avoidable waste by 2050, maximising the value we extract from our resources, and minimising the negative environmental and carbon impacts associated with their extraction, use and disposal
- Publish a new Resources and Waste Strategy to make the UK a world leader in terms of competitiveness, resource productivity and resource efficiency
“We are determined to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it, and achieving clean growth is an integral part of our work to deliver a Green Brexit,” says Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
“Through our ambitious plans to tackle waste, better manage our precious natural resources and create a more environmentally-focused agricultural system, this government is taking the lead in creating a cleaner, greener Britain.”