The government is set to accept and legislate the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation for a 2050 net zero emissions target.
Theresa May said she was “proud to make doing so one of my last acts as prime minister”.
The government now needs to work out how decarbonising the economy within the next 30 years is funded.
Here’s how industry reacted:
John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid:
“Government has shown today the right leadership in legislating for a 2050 net-zero target. Britain has an opportunity to cement its global leadership in reducing emissions, and to create new economic opportunities as a result. Industry and government must now work together to make the huge progress needed in the decarbonisation of heat and transport, building on the good work which has begun. As the first major economy to legislate for net-zero, we should all now get behind the UK’s bid to host the UN Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCC) COP26 conference next year.”
Chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group, Stephen Elliott:
“Step change decarbonisation in industry will require clear sighted policy interventions from the Government to ensure we actively reduce our industrial emissions here in the UK and not simply export them overseas. The Government needs to ensure industry’s continued international competitiveness and enact policy that will spur innovation and investment in low-carbon technologies.
“This has been our message for years and it is therefore promising to see the Committee on Climate Change’s clear understanding of this in its advice and the need for active government support to enable a just transition for carbon and trade-intensive sectors. Importantly, this will involve the development and deployment of competitively priced technologies such as carbon capture and use/storage and hydrogen in the medium-term along with access to project credits to assist that transition. Energy-intensive industries are already playing their part in the new low carbon economy – supplying vital products that are essential to everyone’s lives through the hard work of over 200,000 workers across the country – Government must join us in this huge challenge, becoming a closer and more supportive partner in the years ahead.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady:
“We now need a fair and robust plan to get there that everyone can get behind. That means government, business and trade unions working together on a ‘just transition’.
“Working people must have a say through transition agreements in their workplaces. And there must be a guaranteed path to high-quality work in a green economy for anyone whose job may be at risk.”
David Smith, Chief Executive of Energy Networks Association:
“The time for waiting is over. We need to invest to innovate and to deliver the right infrastructure at the lowest possible cost to the public. That will mean more renewable energy projects, more electric vehicle charging points and a decarbonised gas grid, for which hydrogen is an absolute necessity. Public support for Net Zero is key, and so we must have the tools to deliver for them.”
RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Emma Pinchbeck:
We need to make the best use of every technology in our toolbox, from onshore wind to wave and tidal power to energy efficiency to help fix dangerous climate change. We might be afraid of the impacts of climate change, but the UK’s world-class renewables industry, including our global lead in offshore wind, shows that we should not be afraid of investing in a green economy: the returns to the UK of this leadership on net zero will be huge”.
Tim Rotheray, Director of the Association for Decentralised Energy:
“Energy customers from heavy industry through to every home must be at the centre of this revolution. Those users are key to meeting over half of the emissions cuts needed. To make this happen, a new energy policy is now needed; one that enables energy users to be rewarded for cutting carbon in heat, power and transport, with energy policy making at the centre of all Government departments.
“Ambitious policies to secure large scale investment in heat networks, ensuring all customers can earn money for helping to keep the power grid stable and large scale investment in energy efficiency in homes, businesses and the public sector are essential to making today’s announcement happen.”
Anna Turley MP, Chair of the Hydrogen APPG:
“One of the biggest barriers to eliminating carbon emissions will be addressing how we heat people’s homes in the future and hydrogen will play a crucial role in achieving this.
“The work of the APPG has already shown the innovative projects underway in creating clean energy but this needs to go further. The Government must act swiftly to provide the necessary policy commitments to make hydrogen conversion a reality.
“Not only will this support a cleaner environment, it will create long-term, skilled jobs and position the UK as a global leader in green technology.”