Net zero strategy: Boris Johnson’s seven steps to “end the UK’s contribution to climate change”
Boris Johnson has set out its ‘Net Zero strategy’ – a plan which it says will enable the UK to end its contribution to climate change by 2050.
The strategy, according to the government, “will also secure 440,000 well-paying jobs and unlock £ 90bn of investment by 2030”.
But as ITV News deputy political editor Anushka Asthana says, the plan will not involve ministers lecturing Britons on the benefits of flying less, cycling more or reducing our meat consumption.
So how does the PM plan to lead the race to net zero?
First of all, what is net zero?
Before the Industrial Revolution, the earth took more CO2 from the atmosphere than humans added.
The dawn of industry changed all that, and just about every country in the world is now pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at a much faster rate than they can be removed.
A country reaches net zero when the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is the same as that extracted from the atmosphere, a process also known as “carbon neutrality”.
There are different ways to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere – one of the slowest ways is to plant more trees.
Seven steps on the Prime Minister’s net zero strategy
Mr Johnson said that “by acting first and taking bold steps” the UK will set an example “for other countries to also rebuild greener as we lead the charge towards world net zero “.
“We will build a decisive competitive advantage in electric vehicles, offshore wind, carbon capture technology and more, while supporting people and businesses along the way.”
The government wants people to stop driving gasoline or diesel vehicles and replace them with zero-emission electric cars.
Since electric vehicles are often expensive and sometimes inconvenient to use, the government will invest £ 620million in subsidies and infrastructure for electric vehicles, especially local residential charging points on the street.
There are also plans to introduce a zero-emission vehicle mandate that would encourage automakers to steadily increase sales of zero-emission vehicles towards the 2030 target of ending the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars.
Ministers believe that a commitment to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) could go a long way towards achieving net zero.
SAFs are made from sustainable materials such as everyday household waste, flue gases from industry, carbon captured in the atmosphere, and excess electricity.
They produce over 70% less carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel on a life cycle basis.
As part of the transition to sustainable aviation fuel, the government has announced that it will provide UK industry with £ 180million in funding to support the development of UK SAF factories.
Carbon capture and storage is the idea of sucking up emissions produced by electricity production or industrial activity, transporting them via a pipeline, for example, and storing them in depth.
The process involves the separation of CO2 from other gases produced in industrial processes, such as those in coal and natural gas power plants or steel or cement plants.
A £ 140million investment aims to accelerate the development of carbon capture technology.
It will accelerate the development of two carbon capture sites: Hynet Cluster in North West England and North Wales and the East Coast Cluster in Teesside and the Humber.
Half a billion pounds will go to innovation projects to develop “the green technologies of the future”.
This plan will support “the most pioneering ideas and technologies to decarbonize our homes, industries, land and electricity”.
This will include the development of carbon capture technology and new ways to use hydrogen, which produces no carbon dioxide pollution.
£ 450million investment will provide households in England and Wales £ 5,000 grants to swap their gas boilers for low carbon electricity heat pumps for heating and hot water.
An aerothermal heat pump is installed outside your house. It uses electricity to take energy from the outside air and convert it into heat. Air source heat pumps extract heat from the environment even in cold weather.
There are also heat pumps that extract energy from water or soil.
Heat pumps produce around three times as much energy as they consume, making them much more efficient than gas boilers.
An easy, albeit slow, way to reduce the amount of carbon a country emits into the atmosphere is to increase the volume of flora absorbing CO2.
The government plans to triple forest creation in England to create at least 30,000 hectares of forest per year across the UK by the end of this legislature.
He also hopes to restore around 280,000 hectares of peat in England by 2050.
Some £ 120million will go towards developing nuclear projects.
The government says there remain a number of “optimal sites” for new “new advanced nuclear power plants”, including the Wylfa site in Anglesey.
“Funding like this could support our path to decarbonising the UK power system fifteen years earlier, from 2050 to 2035,” the government added.
What is the reaction to the Prime Minister’s plan?
Rebecca Newsom, Policy Officer for Greenpeace UK, said: “This document looks more like a choice and a mix than the substantial meal we need to achieve net zero.
“The extra money for tree planting and advancements on electric vehicles do not make up for the lack of concrete plans to deliver large-scale renewables, additional investments in public transport or a firm commitment to end new oil and gas licenses. “
She warned that there were only half-hearted policies and funding commitments to cut carbon from drafty homes at the rate needed, and this failed to tackle the need to reduce consumption. of meat and dairy products.
“Until the policy and funding gaps are closed, Boris Johnson’s call for other countries to keep their promises at the world climate conference next month will be easy to ignore.” , she said.