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One year on: delivering clean growth

One year on: delivering clean growth

Friday 12th of October marks one year since the publication of the government’s Clean Growth Strategy, their plan to meet to the UK climate change targets.

Despite some progress in decarbonisation over the past year, there are still many areas which lack the clear, long-term and detailed policies which are needed to turn the ambitions in the Clean Growth Strategy into action.

This policy brief from Carbon Connect looks at the next steps needed for progress in the areas of power, industry, housing and transport. It is based on the findings of a roundtable series on these four key areas, which were attended by representatives across industry and academia and chaired by parliamentarians from different parties, including Lilian Greenwood MP, Simon Clarke MP, John McNally MP, Alex Sobel MP and Antoinette Sandbach MP. While the brief has been informed by these events it does not necessarily represent the views of those in attendance.

Recommendation 1: Clear, long-term and detailed policies are needed to turn ambitions into solid and practical outcomes. Clear trajectories to 2030, showing the relevant milestones and timelines that can be expected over the next decade, are needed to drive the change required in each sector. There are still many areas that lack this clear, detailed, long-term policy. The CCC has made an assessment of 23 policies that must be in place by mid-2019 but are yet to be published. Some of these are discussed below, including: policies on retrofit of domestic properties; the CCUS deployment pathway; and stronger incentives to purchase cleaner vehicles

Recommendation 2: The energy sector must develop how it engages and informs: both to make the transition to a low carbon energy system effective, and to ensure that public understanding and consent for the transition is ensured.  More research is needed to identify social and economic barriers to low carbon technologies, and to identify how the subsidies and incentives that are in place can be best used to bring about change. This is essential on a variety of issues: for example, in ensuring consumers use smart meters effectively to regulate energy demand; or embrace new or disruptive technologies like the electric vehicle and heat pumps.

Recommendation 3: The Government should pursue mechanisms by which renewables can access the market beyond 2019, to fill the capacity gap out to 2032. This should include a mechanism to provide a route to market for subsidy-free renewables - such as onshore wind and solar - in communities that want to host them.

Recommendation 4: The CCUS deployment pathway should follow recommendations released in the past year that at least two CCUS clusters must be operational from the mid-2020’s. Government should also clarify the business models expected for carbon dioxide transport and storage; how industrial carbon capture will be financed; and which sectors are expected to require CCUS out to 2030 and beyond.

Recommendation 5: The Government should consider offers to engage and incentivise the ‘able to pay’, private rented and social housing sectors in energy efficiency, possibly using recommendations from the Green Finance Taskforce on green mortgages and financial incentives like reduced stamp duty. New, ambitious policy packages to improve the energy efficiency of domestic buildings must be developed to achieve targets set out in the CGS, as well as further research to identify the reasons for poor uptake of energy efficiency.  

Recommendation 6: The Government must develop strong targets for carbon emissions reduction for new cars and vans post 2020, which require high ULEV share. This would include developing stronger standards for Plug-In Hybrids so that by 2035 almost all journeys can be driven in zero emissions mode; and developing strong efficiency standards for new petrol and diesel cars post-Brexit.