The Aldersgate Group has called on the government in the UK to press ahead with action to deliver the UK’s net zero emissions target and introduce an ambitious Environment Bill
The manifesto, Building a competitive, net zero emissions and climate-ready economy, calls for ambitious and stable policies that will accelerate emission cuts across the economy, reverse the decline of the natural environment and deliver industrial opportunities in fast growing areas of the world economy.
Among the manifesto’s key demands for the new government are introducing a ‘Clean Growth Strategy Plus’ that delivers an increase in ambition to match the UK’s net zero target. This should incorporate concrete policies that accelerate private sector investment to decarbonise priority sectors such as surface transport and buildings. Binding energy efficiency targets, fiscal incentives such as stamp duty adjustments, tightening emission vehicle standards and guaranteed zero emission vehicles grants until the mid-2020s are among some of the key measures called for in the manifesto.
Another demand is that the government introduce without delay an ambitious Environment Bill. The Aldersgate Group would also like to see the government rapidly implement the Resources and Waste Strategy and turn the Green Finance Strategy into action.
Aldersgate Group executive director Nick Molho said, “The time has now come to focus on delivery. If the UK is to attract the large volume of affordable private sector investment required to deliver its environmental and climate ambitions and strengthen its competitive advantage in these fast growing areas of the global economy, Boris Johnson’s government needs to rapidly flesh out a plan of action for the decade ahead to put the UK on track for achieving net zero emissions and introduce an ambitious and comprehensive Environment Bill.
“With Brexit fast approaching, it is crucial that the UK’s trade policy is consistent with its domestic policy agenda. In order to support the integrity of the UK’s increasingly ambitious environmental and climate policy commitments and support the competitiveness of its businesses, the UK’s future trade agreements should seek to uphold high environmental standards that are consistent with domestic targets and promote growing trade in low carbon and environmental goods and services.”
Mr Molho and colleagues at Aldersgate Group said the Clean Growth Strategy Plus should prioritise ‘low regret’ policy options and the government should aim at a minimum to meet the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, and preferably overachieve them. It said the most feasible and cost-effective way to do this is through completing the decarbonisation of the power sector and said the offshore wind sector is a great example of what can be achieved with the right combination of policy certainty, investment and market mechanisms.
Beyond supporting the continued growth of offshore wind through regular and predictable auctions throughout the 2020s, the group is urging the government to secure a route to market for mature forms of renewable energy such as onshore wind, through a resumption of Pot 1 contract for difference auctions in the short-term and establishing a market of zero carbon tradeable electricity contracts in the medium term. “Greater access to mature renewables is an essential part of delivering competitive industrial electricity prices,” it said.
It would also like to see a larger market for flexibility options, such as increased storage capacity and greater use of demand side response to create a reliable and low carbon power network as more renewable energy is deployed. It asks the government to resume the carbon price escalator in the 2020s as coal comes off the system to offer a clear direction of travel for businesses and offer long-term incentives for investment in low carbon alternatives.