‘Another vital step to net-zero’: Green economy reacts to the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy

The UK Government has unveiled a new Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy that will spur rapid decarbonisation across industry, the public sector, construction and manufacturing. But do green groups believe the strategy will put the nation on course for net-zero by 2050?

‘Another vital step to net-zero’: Green economy reacts to the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy

Green groups have largely welcomed the new strategy

The Strategy links to the £1bn Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund and the £171m Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge and is expected to support 80,000 UK jobs over the next 30 years whilst cutting emissions by two-thirds in just 15 years. Longer-term, the Government believes a 90% cut in emissions will be delivered by 2050 compared to 2018 levels.

As with many frameworks unveiled by this Government in recent months, the strategy has been broadly welcomed by green groups. But yet again, many are calling for more detail and clarity to ensure that some of the highest-emitting sectors in the UK can join the low-carbon transition by reaching net-zero by 2050 at the latest.

Here, edie rounds up some of the key comments from the green economy on the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy.

Nick Molho, executive director of the Aldersgate Group

“We welcome the ambition to cut heavy industrial emissions by at least two-thirds by 2035. With continued ambitious support on innovation and the development of stable market mechanisms, the decarbonisation of heavy industry can provide UK businesses with competitive advantages in the production of low carbon industrial goods and deliver significant benefits in terms of job creation, skills development and the revival of industrial heartlands in many parts of the UK.   

“The funding under the Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge Fund will make a welcome contribution to the potential development of key technologies like CCUS and hydrogen production, but it is important that such funding continues to be made available in the years to come to help accelerate the demonstration of these technologies at scale.

“Building on efforts to accelerate innovation, it will be essential for the UK Government to put in place a comprehensive set of long-term policies that drives timely and cost-effective private investment in industrial decarbonisation and strengthens the competitiveness of UK businesses in the process. This requires ensuring that the price of carbon under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme is clearly aligned with the net-zero target, with the use of free allowances gradually reducing and the UK considering a linkage between the UK and EU ETS on the basis of a shared ambition for climate neutrality.”

Roz Bulleid, deputy policy director, Green Alliance

“The commitment to look at near-zero ore-based steelmaking by 2035 is welcome, but 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 in place for low carbon steelmaking using hydrogen. It is becoming increasingly clear that the future of the steel industry will need to be based around clean steel that does not add to our carbon footprint. Taking action now, by producing a new plan for a greener steel industry, including a pilot of hydrogen-based steelmaking, is essential if we are to support jobs in the sector and the wider supply chain, as well as meeting our climate change commitments.”

Rain Newton-Smith chief economist CBI

“The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy marks another vital step in the UK’s plans to achieve its net-zero emissions target. Creating and championing competitive low-carbon industries will ensure the benefits of a green economic recovery, and the longer-term transition to net-zero, are shared across the whole country.

“Ahead of COP26, this is a welcome demonstration of the UK’s commitment to act on climate change, to make our post-pandemic recovery a green one, and to give businesses the certainty they need to invest in the technologies of the future.”

Stephen Phipson, chief executive Make UK the manufacturers’ organisation

“We welcome the Government’s announcement of the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy and the accompanying funding investment which will help create much needed green jobs as manufacturers work to come out of the current Covid crisis and rebuild.

“The promise of financial help is critical. Britain’s big corporations have large ring-fenced budgets for green initiatives, but our smaller firms will need support to make sure they are able to make the changes necessary to ensure the UK meets its carbon targets and that they can benefit from the dramatic changes to the way industry will work in the coming years.

“Plans to reduce Carbon Emissions in Industrial Buildings is particularly welcome as it will enable our SMEs to get started with this most urgent and basic need, before even green tech projects. Manufacturing is key in driving the solution to the green agenda and the whole industry is working together to lead the race to net-zero.”

Bryony Livesey, challenge director Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge UK Research & Innovation (UKRI)

“The announcement of £171m funding is a significant step in our progress of supporting largescale decarbonisation efforts, and we are looking forward to working alongside the projects as they put their revolutionary plans into action. The benefits to these regional clusters will be substantial, both in terms of the environmental impact, as well as the opportunity for jobs and increasing the global competitiveness of industry in the areas. It once again demonstrates the UK’s industry as being at the forefront of innovation and creating greener solutions for the future.”

Nick Cooper, chief executive Pale Blue Dot a Storegga Group company

“Today’s funding for the Scottish Net Zero Infrastructure (SNZI) programme is a further endorsement of the broader Acorn Project and the crucial role it plays in delivering the UK and Scotland’s net-zero plans while providing a significant boost to the region’s fast-growing low carbon credentials.

“This funding will support a range of projects to progress Scotland’s low carbon infrastructure including the detailed engineering required to move Acorn CCS and Hydrogen through to final investment decisions. This is an important investment to ensure that this CCS infrastructure is operational by the mid-2020s, with the potential to store 20Mt/yr of CO2 emissions from Scotland, the UK and Europe by the mid-2030s, delivering new economic growth opportunities, creating and sustaining jobs in Scotland and across the UK.”

Jonathan Maxwell, chief executive SDCL:

“This is a big step in the right direction to reduce carbon emissions from our schools and hospitals. COVID changes so much of the way we work, we should grasp the opportunity to think differently. Energy efficiency is the low hanging fruit of decarbonisation. Take local generation of electricity and heat. The technology to do this with solar power, high efficiency combined heat and power plants and smart buildings is tried and tested. They save energy and improve productivity. Or we could continue with our current power grid which is a 1950s throwback that has to generate 3KW of power to deliver 1KW of usable electricity.“

Matt Mace

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