Now that the Coalition has announced its pledge to halve carbon emissions by 2025, the next question is how is it going to be achieved. The devil, as they say, is always in the detail.
Winning the political battle in Cabinet – against, it has to be said, some pretty heavy hitters: Messrs Osborne, Cable and Hammond were reportedly against the plans for fear of affecting the economy – is one thing, Now the hard work starts.
Before the end of the year the Government will announce a package of measures to reduce the impact of government policy on the cost of electricity for energy intensive industries and to help them adjust to the low-carbon industrial transformation.
There is more detail on the announcement on the Department of Energy & Climate Change website.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who supported the targets, said, “When the coalition came together last year, we said we wanted this to be the greenest government ever. This is the right approach for Britain if we are to combat climate change, secure our energy supplies for the long-term and seize the economic opportunities that green industries hold.
“In the past twelve months, we have pursued an ambitious green agenda and today, we are announcing the next, historic step. By making this commitment, we will position the UK a leading player in the global low-carbon economy, creating significant new industries and jobs.
“The transition to a low-carbon economy is necessary, real, and global. By stepping up, showing leadership and competing with the world, the UK can prove that there need not be a tension between green and growth.”
Energy & Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: “Today’s announcement will give investors the certainty they need to invest in clean energy. It puts Britain at the leading edge of a new global industrial transformation as well as making good our determination that this will be the greenest government ever.
“The Coalition Government has set a fourth carbon budget level, in line with the advice from the Committee on Climate Change, that sends a clear signal about our determination to transform Britain permanently into a low carbon economy. By cutting emissions we’re also getting ourselves off the oil hook, making our energy supplies more secure and opening up opportunities for jobs in the new green industries of the future.
“Through the Green Deal, electricity market reform and the Green Investment Bank we’re already putting in place the tools that will help us meet this ambitious carbon budget. This and every future British Government will have to keep up the pace and put in place the most effective policies to tackle climate change.
“Under this carbon budget, Britain in 2027 will be a different place and transformed for the better with warmer homes powered by green energy, many more cars powered by electricity and far less reliance on fossil fuels to drive our economy.”
Under the fourth carbon budget, government will aim to reduce emissions domestically as far as practical and affordable, but also intends to keep open the option of trading in order to retain maximum flexibility and minimise costs in the medium-long term.
Groundbreaking innovation will play a crucial role in helping Britain to decarbonise its energy supplies by 2027 in the most economical way. Today the Energy Technologies Institute is asking industry to design, build and test longer offshore wind turbine blades to improve performance. Currently blades are typically 40-60 metres long, but the next generation of turbines could have blades measuring more than 90 metres – almost the height of Big Ben.”
It will be interesting to know what role Green IT will eventually play in hitting these targets. I came across this report, which serves as a reminder of some of the relevant figures.