The Clean Growth Strategy was launched by the government as part of its commitment to nationally reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It outlines its proposed approach to building a lower-carbon future for the UK.
The full document, compiled by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), can be read in full here. However, if you’re pushed for time, fear not, because Flogas, who offer competitive business gas prices, has summarised the strategy’s key points, and what they mean for UK homes and businesses.
How has the UK committed to climate change?
Understanding the background legislation that brought about the Clean Growth Strategy is important.
In 2008, the Climate Change Act was introduced in the UK and this led to them becoming the first nation in the world to have a self-imposed legally binding carbon reduction target. The crux of it? To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).
Are we close to meeting the target?
Impressively, figures published by BEIS in March 2017 revealed that the UK is indeed well on its way to meeting this target as overall carbon emissions have dropped by 42% since 1990. While this progress is encouraging, the government acknowledges that there is still plenty more work to be done – and that’s where proposals like the Clean Growth Strategy come in.
How can the Clean Growth Strategy help?
In a nutshell, the Clean Growth Strategy’s policies and proposals aim to accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ in two ways: by decreasing emissions, and by increasing economic growth. 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.
In order to turn this vision into a reality, the government 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 of the Clean Growth Strategy?
There are six key areas that the strategy’s proposals focus on. Together, these are responsible for 100% of 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 list of all 50 pledges in this executive summary.
What does this mean for homes and businesses?
This essentially means that our homes, businesses and industrial operations are encouraged by the government to reduce their carbon footprint in a several ways. A major focus will be reassessing the fuels we use for jobs like heating, cooking, and powering industrial and manufacturing processes – and embracing cleaner, greener alternatives.
Not only does this mean boosting uptake of renewable technologies, such as heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar panels in the long term, but it also favours 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 is sure to remain as a popular choice for buildings that are connected to the mains network due to its affordability and accessibility, and the fact it is the lowest-carbon fossil fuel 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, an expert in the sector for over 30 years, also predicts that the ‘green gas’ phenomenon (natural gas injected with a proportion of environmentally friendly biogas) will grow in popularity as the Clean Growth Strategy rolls out.
Reaction to the Clean Growth Strategy
Key industry figures have been very supportive of the strategy since its unveiling.
Lee Gannon, Managing Director of Flogas, 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.”
Trade body Oil & Gas UK also supports the strategy, and their Upstream Policy Director, Mike Tholen, 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.”