UK Govt Commits £350mn to Green Recovery [Update]
(Clarifies that money is not all 'new')
The UK government has committed around £350 ($397)mn to cut emissions in heavy industry and drive economic recovery from coronavirus, it said July 22. However the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Beis) told NGW July 23 that the money was not all new.
Switching from natural gas to hydrogen and improving the housing stock are among the targets, while emissions from aviation are to be tackled by a 'jet zero carbon' taskforce that has been newly launched.
The UK set itself a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 last year, when Theresa May was prime minister.
The present incumbent Boris Johnson said: “We’ve made great strides towards our net zero target over the last year, but it’s more important than ever that we keep up the pace of change to fuel a green, sustainable recovery as we rebuild from the pandemic. The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs."
The package includes: £139mn to cut emissions in heavy industry by supporting the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen power, and scaling up carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology. This will benefit 12 successful projects in Scotland and Wales, and Teesside, the Humber, the North West and the West Midlands, potentially cutting manufacturers’ overall emissions by 20% by 2030. Beis told NGW however that the £139mn comes from a previously announced government promise made last year for £170mn.
The Industrial Decarbonisation Challenge fund will also explore and scale up carbon capture and storage technology, which can stop over 90% of emissions being released from industrial plants into the air by storing carbon permanently underground. The government has already committed funding to CCS projects, of which today's announcement might be a part.
Another £149mn is to go on innovative materials in heavy industry; the 13 initial projects will include proposals to reuse waste ash in the glass and ceramics industry, and the development of recyclable steel.
And almost £40mn is for new cost- and emissions-cutting building techniques such as re-usable roofs and walls and “digital clones” of buildings that analyse data in real time.
In 2019, UK emissions were 42% lower than in 1990, while the economy over the same period grew by 72%, it said. Over the past decade, the UK has cut carbon emissions by more than any similar developed country, the government said. While gains have been made in the power sector, cuts have also come at the expense of higher emissions elsewhere as steel and other energy intensive industries have flourished overseas and the UK has imported more, while its domestic industry has complained of "dumping" by China.