According to BEIS figures published in March 2017, it looks like the UK is progressing nicely and it on its way to meeting this target, with carbon emissions having dropped overall by 42 per cent since 1990.

The Clean Growth Strategy: What is it?
The Clean Growth Strategy: What is it?

John Hannen

To try to build a lower-carbon future for the UK and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, the government has launched the Clean Growth Strategy.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) compiled the comprehensive document, which you can download in full here. However, don’t fret if you don’t have time to scroll through 165 pages as gas mains specialists Flogas has created this summary of the strategy’s key points, and what they mean for UK homes and businesses.    

 

Climate change commitment plan

The background legislation that brought about the Clean Growth Strategy was the Climate Change Act that was introduced by the UK in 2008. This led to the UK becoming the first location in the world to self-impose a legally binding carbon reduction target. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).

 

Are we going to reach our target?

According to BEIS figures published in March 2017, it looks like the UK is progressing nicely and it on its way to meeting this target, with carbon emissions having dropped overall by 42 per cent since 1990. While this progress is encouraging, the government acknowledges that there is still plenty more work to be done – and that’s where proposals like the Clean Growth Strategy come in.

 

How can the Clean Growth Strategy help?

The policies and proposals that are laid out in the government’s Clean Growth Strategy aim to speed up  ‘clean growth’ in a couple of ways: by decreasing emissions, and by increasing economic growth. With that in mind, the two guiding objectives underpinning the strategy are:

  • To meet our domestic commitments at the lowest possible net cost to UK taxpayers, consumers and businesses.

  • To maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK from this transition.

 

To do this, the government has agreed to roll out lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies across the nation – doing so in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.

 

What are the strategy’s key proposals?

There are six key areas that the proposals focus on. Together, they are responsible for 100% of the UK’s carbon emissions:

  • Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions)

  • Accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions)

  • Improving our homes (13% of UK emissions)

  • Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions)

  • Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions)

  • Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions)

You can find all 50 pledges in this executive summary.

 

What does this all mean for homes and businesses?

The government is encouraging and supporting homes, businesses and industrial operations to cut down their carbon footprint in several ways. A major focus will be reassessing the fuels we use for jobs like heating, cooking, and powering industrial and manufacturing processes – and embracing cleaner, greener alternatives.

This will boost the uptake of renewable technologies in the long term, as well as favour cleaner conventional fuels over more polluting ones. For example, for off-grid homes and businesses, the strategy sets out specific plans to phase out high-carbon forms of fossil fuels like oil.

A popular choice for buildings that are connected to the mains network will still be natural gas – not just because of its affordability and accessibility, but also because it’s the lowest-carbon fossil fuel available. Flogas, which specialises in highly competitive commercial mains gas, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.

The company, which has been an expert in the energy sector for more than 30 years’, also predicts that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon (natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas) will grow in popularity as the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out.

 

Clean Growth Strategy Reaction

There has been hugely positive reaction following the unveiling of the Clean Growth Strategy with key industry figures voicing their support.

Lee Gannon, Managing Director of Flogas, said: “Through the publication of its Clean Growth Strategy, the government has made clear its intention to reduce carbon emissions from off-grid UK homes and businesses. Natural gas is affordable, versatile, widely available and – most importantly – emits significantly less carbon than the likes of coal and oil. As such, it will continue to play a central role as the UK works towards cleaning up its energy landscape. We look forward to working alongside policymakers and wider industry stakeholders to make the Clean Growth Strategy the success that it deserves to be.”

Trade body Oil & Gas UK also supports the strategy. Mike Tholen, its Upstream Policy Director, commented: “Oil & Gas UK welcomes the government’s commitment to technology in the strategy, especially with regards to carbon abatement measures such as carbon capture, usage and storage. Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the government to see how these technologies can further reduce emissions across the economy.”

 
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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