The UK government has launched its Clean Growth Strategy as part of its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the nation. It outlines a proposed approach to building a lower-carbon future for the UK.
You can read the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS) comprehensive report by downloading it here. However, if you don’t have the time to scroll through all 165 pages, don’t worry. This time-consuming task has been made easier thanks to energy provider Flogas, who provide business gas prices. Read on for a summary of the strategy’s key points, and what they mean for UK homes and businesses.
What is the UK’s commitment to climate change?
To begin with, it’s vital to understand what made the Clean Growth Strategy a necessity.
In 2008, the UK introduced the Climate Change Act, and through this, became the first nation in the world to self-impose a legally binding carbon reduction target. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
Is this target in our grasp?
BEIS published positive data in March 2017, revealing that the UK is on track to meet this target, with overall carbon emissions dropping by 42% since 1990. While this progress is encouraging, the government acknowledges that there is still plenty of work to be done – and that’s where proposals like the Clean Growth Strategy come in.
How can the Clean Growth Strategy help?
The Clean Growth Strategy aims to accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ in two ways: by increasing economic growth, and by decreasing emissions. With that in mind, the two guiding objectives underpinning the strategy are:
- To meet our domestic commitments at the lowest possible net cost to UK taxpayers, consumers and businesses.
- To maximise the social and economic benefits for the UK from this transition.
To turn this vision into a reality, the government has pledged to roll out lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies nationwide – doing so in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.
What are the key proposals in the Clean Growth Strategy?
There are six key areas that the strategy’s proposals focus on. Together, they are completely responsible for the UK’s carbon emissions:
- Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions).
- Improving our homes (13% of UK emissions).
- Accelerating the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions).
- Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions).
- Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions).
- Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions).
You can find the full list of 50 pledges in this executive summary.
What will this mean for homes and businesses?
Essentially, the government will encourage and support homes, businesses and industrial operations to minimise their carbon footprint in several ways. A major focus will be to reassess the fuels we use for tasks such as heating, cooking, and powering industrial and manufacturing processes – and embracing cleaner, greener alternatives.
This will help boost the uptake of renewable technologies (e.g. heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar panels) in the long term, and favour cleaner conventional fuels over more polluting ones. For example, for off-grid homes and businesses, the strategy sets out specific plans to phase out high-carbon forms of fossil fuels like oil. As the lowest-carbon conventional off-grid fuel, oil to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) conversions will play a key part in replacing oil in rural parts of the country.
Natural gas will remain a popular choice for properties that are connected to the mains network – not only because of its affordability and accessibility, but also because it’s the lowest-carbon fossil fuel that’s available. Flogas, which specialises in highly competitive commercial mains gas, expects to see this part of its business continue to go from strength to strength.
The company has been an expert in the energy sector for more than 30 years and predicts that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon (natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas) will rise in popularity as the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out.
Reaction to the Clean Growth Strategy
Key industry figures have been vocal in their support since the unveiling of the Clean Growth Strategy.
Managing Director of Flogas, Lee Gannon, said: “Through the publication of its Clean Growth Strategy, the government has made clear its intention to reduce carbon emissions from off-grid UK homes and businesses. Natural gas is affordable, versatile, widely available and – most importantly – emits significantly less carbon than the likes of coal and oil. As such, it will continue to play a central role as the UK works towards cleaning up its energy landscape. We look forward to working alongside policymakers and wider industry stakeholders to make the Clean Growth Strategy the success that it deserves to be.”
Also supporting the strategy is Oil & Gas UK. Mike Tholen, its Upstream Policy Director, commented: “Oil & Gas UK welcomes the government’s commitment to technology in the strategy, especially with regards to carbon abatement measures such as carbon capture, usage and storage. Oil & Gas UK looks forward to working with the government to see how these technologies can further reduce emissions across the economy.”