The UK government released on Tuesday its ‘Net Zero Strategy’, to achieve the country’s objective of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The UK was the first major economy in the world to enshrine in law its commitment to reach net zero by that date. Under the strategy, the UK will support the development, and facilitate to adoption, of a range of green technologies and practices. In alphabetical order, these are – carbon capture and storage (CCS), decarbonising homes and other buildings, electric vehicles (EVs), hydrogen power, nuclear energy and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The country will also invest in the research and development (R&D) of new green technologies and restore natural ecosystems within the UK.
“By moving first and taking bold action, we will build a defining competitive edge in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, whilst supporting people and businesses along the way,” asserted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “With the major climate summit COP26 just around the corner, our strategy sets the example for other countries to build back greener too as we lead the change towards global net zero.”
The publication of the Net Zero Strategy followed the launch of the country’s ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’ last November. Since then, £26-billion of government funding has been assigned to ‘greening’ the UK economy. The country has, over the same period, also attracted more £5.8-billion in foreign investment into green projects. The British government hopes that implementation of the Net Zero Strategy will result in local and foreign investments totalling £90-billion and securing 440 000 skilled jobs by 2030.
In the UK plan, CCS will be coupled with the production and adoption of green hydrogen (CCS processes can produce hydrogen as a by-product). Initially, two carbon capture and hydrogen production clusters will be established in the UK, centred on Hynet in north-west England and north Wales, and on the Teesside and the Humber areas on the English east coast. Government support for these initiatives will include its £140-million Industrial and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme, which will help cover the difference between gas and hydrogen energy costs for industry.
Decarbonising homes and other buildings has been allocated new funding of £3.9-billion. R&D into innovative green technologies will receive a further £500-million (which will take the total funding for such R&D to at least £1.5-billion).
The development and deployment of EVs will see another £350-million assigned to the production of such vehicles and to the development of their supply chains, while £620-million will be assigned to fund grants to assist the purchase of EVs and the creation of the necessary battery charging infrastructure, especially the creation of local charging points on residential streets.
Nuclear energy development will be further supported by £120-million for the Future Nuclear Enabling Fund. The commercialisation of SAF will be supported by £180-million in funding. The initial aim is to ensure that, by 2030, 10% of aviation fuel being used in the UK will be SAF.
The country’s Nature for Climate Fund will receive another £124-million. This will be used to restore some 280 000 ha of peatland in England and reforest at least 30 000 ha of land each year, by 2025/26, across the UK.