Net zero carbon economy aim welcomed on the Humber

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 2 May 2019

Today’s groundbreaking Committee on Climate Change report has been welcomed by the major stakeholders on the Humber.

It states the UK should cut greenhouse gases to zero by 2050 to end its contribution to global warming within 30 years.

The advisers have called for ministers to set a new legal target for a 100 per cent cut in all greenhouse gases by mid-century as soon as possible, and to urgently ramp up efforts to cut emissions.

Hitting the "net zero" target will mean an end to heating of homes with traditional gas boilers, more green electricity – with a 75GW target for offshore wind flagged up, surpassing even the sector deal’s aspirations - and a switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric vehicles.

Any remaining pollution in 2050 from areas including aviation will need to be "offset" through measures to capture carbon, with the Humber again in an enviable position.

The shift, described as achievable with known technologies, will deliver economic opportunities, as well as warmer and more comfortable homes, cleaner air, better health and a boost for wildlife, a report from the committee said.

It came hours after Lord Prescott addressed 400 people at Offshore Wind Connections, underlining how the first steps in a new industrial revolution had already been taken on the Humber.  

Lord Prescott speaking at DoubleTree by Hilton Hull last night.

Climate Change Committee chairman Lord Deben said: "We can do it, we know how to do it and we will benefit from doing it.

"We started the industrial revolution, we have been responsible for the biggest segment of the climate change that is happening in ours world today.

"We need to be not only responsible for the leadership to overcome those damages, but also we have an opportunity of leading the new industrial revolution that will be based on the sustainable economy.

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"This is the key to a very considerable amount of economic benefit. We will make money as a nation out of this if we do it properly because the rest of the world will want it."

The report, which was requested by the UK governments last year, warns that the proposed 2040 date for the phasing-out of new petrol and diesel cars and vans is too late, and recommends bringing it forward to 2030, or at the latest 2035.

More ambitious plans are also urgently needed on cutting emissions from heating buildings and developing technology to capture and store carbon from power and industrial plants.

Trebling woodland creation from 10,000 hectares a year today to around 30,000 hectares in 2050, and a 20% cut in beef, lamb and dairy consumption would help meet the target, the report said.

The overall zero emissions target should be met through cuts at home rather than buying carbon "credits" for reductions in other countries and it should cover all sectors of the economy including international aviation and shipping.

Business Secretary Greg Clark.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "One of our proudest achievements as a country is our position as a world-leader in tackling this global challenge, being the first country to raise the issue on the international stage, introduce long-term legally binding climate reduction targets and cutting emissions further than all other G20 countries."

He said the committee's report recognised the work done to lay the foundations to build a net-zero economy and it "now sets us on a path to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely".

The Government is set to respond "in due course" to the report.

Business group the CBI said the recommendations "mark a new dawn for climate change action in the UK", with a need for a step change in Government policy, business action and the way people live their lives.

It provided a huge boost as Offshore Wind Connections opened for the conference proper in Hull, with several speakers referencing it, and the explosive potential it brings.

Matthew Wright, managing director at Ørsted UK, said: “The CCC report highlights that the action needed to decarbonise the UK is both achievable and affordable. As a company that has divested its fossil fuel business to invest only in renewable energy, we are convinced that we can transition to a world that runs entirely on green energy and that this transition creates a great economic opportunity for the UK.

Early plans for carbon capture and storage around the Humber estuary. The baton has been picked up again.

“75GW of offshore wind by 2050 is definitely achievable. The cost of offshore wind has already reduced to the point where it is comparable with conventional generation, and it’s continuing to fall.  The UK has a rapidly expanding supply chain supporting the offshore wind sector, which is creating thousands of new jobs, and we are confident of attracting the tens of billions of pounds of investment required to make this a reality.”

Carbon capture from industry could be huge for the Humber too, with Lord Haskins championing it at LEP level, with the area poised to be one of three hubs.

Anchor emitter is Drax, the biomass-fired power station fed from Immingham and Hull and located just a couple of miles from the River Humber's formation, that can provide base load to support large scale electricity demand, while also looking at gas-firing for when wind and solar falls.  

Will Gardiner, Drax Group chief executive, said: “We stand ready to implement the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendations and scale up the successful BECCS pilot at Drax to create the world’s first negative emissions power station in the mid-2020s. Bioenergy with carbon capture is the cornerstone around which a low carbon economy can be built: Crucial for tackling climate change, it will also create new jobs and export opportunities for British businesses.”

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