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A green revolution

On the face of it the government’s green industrial revolution looks like a positive step in decarbonising the UK economy, but as always the devil is in the detail.

The UK government’s announcement of its ‘green industrial revolution’, has been broadly welcomed, but questions have been raised over whether it’s ambitious enough, or if enough money is being allocated to it or whether the plan goes far enough in meeting the government’s own legally binding climate targets, as the UK looks to cut its carbon emissions to virtually zero by 2050.

The 10 point plan includes a ban on combustion engine sales by 2030, with grants for electric cars and funding for charging points, a pledge to quadruple offshore wind power to 40GW by 2030, moves to boost hydrogen production, investment in new nuclear power and carbon capture initiatives and a pledge to make London the ‘global capital of green finance.’

The announcement that garnered most media coverage was the decision to phase out combustion engine sales, ten years earlier than previously expected.

Research suggests that this could cut car emissions by the equivalent of 46m tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, from an equivalent of 68 MtCO2e (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) at present.

The move to bring forward the phasing-out of fossil fuel vehicles had been widely trailed, and many car manufacturers are looking to accelerate the shift to electric engines.

While decarbonisation of vehicles tends to concentrate on passenger vehicles, development are taking place with commercial vehicles. The news that Arrival, the UK-based electric van and bus start-up, has announced that it was to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, in a deal that is expected to value the company at more than £4bn, highlights the opportunities in this space.

While the UK government is focused on the decarbonisation of vehicles it will also need to invest in the UK’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the scale of what’s required has raised doubts about the level of funding that is being made available.

Much of the plan announced involved setting new targets, but when so many existing ones have yet to be met, is there really any point? Far too often targets have been set by government, whether that’s cutting CO2 emissions, increasing the use of renewables or meeting air quality targets only for them to be missed.

So is this green plan vague and underpowered or a landmark announcement? Only time will tell.

Neil Tyler

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Excellent article, and the last part (increasing the use of renewables or meeting air quality targets only for them to be missed.), is so true.
I also don't understand the government concentrating on the issues mentioned and not insisting that all new build houses are built with Solar PV with Battery Storage and Heating Panels. The old joke mentioned by the monkey when he peed in the sea, "Every little bit helps", also works with the PV usage.
Also, many other things would help, like Improved insulation, Triple or even Quadruple glazing. The list is endless!!
Come on government think past your nose and use your powers to advise and enforce other methods.

Posted by: Robert Squibb, 23/11/2020

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