Net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. Net zero will be met when the amount added is no more than the amount taken away. Net zero is important as it’s the best way we can tackle climate change by reducing global warming.
On the 27th June 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end our nation’s contribution to climate change. The legislation committed the UK to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
In November 2020 the Government published The Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution which will help the UK to become a net zero society. We’ve taken a deep dive into the plan, a summary of the points laid out in the report are below:
Point 1: Advancing Offshore Wind
The UK already generates more electricity from offshore wind than any other country, harnessing the wind power our seas are well placed to produce. By 2030 the Government plans to quadruple our offshore wind capacity to generate more power, backing new innovations to make the most of this proven technology and investing to bring new jobs and growth to the UK’s ports and coastal regions.
Point 2: Driving the Growth of Low Carbon Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the lightest, simplest and most abundant chemical element in the universe. It could provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry. Working alongside industry partners, the aim is for the UK to develop 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 that could see the UK benefit from around 8,000 jobs.
Point 3: Delivering New and Advanced Nuclear Power
Nuclear power provides a reliable source of low-carbon electricity. Home to the world’s first full-scale civil nuclear power station more than sixty years ago, the UK Government sees the ongoing potential of this technology. Whether a large-scale power plant, or next generation technologies such as Small and Advanced Modular Reactors, new nuclear will both produce low carbon power and create jobs and growth across the UK.
Point 4: Accelerating the Shift to Zero Emission Vehicles
Zero emission vehicles can be our most visible incarnation of our ability to simultaneously create jobs, strengthen British industry, cut emissions, and continue travelling. From 2030 we will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans, 10 years earlier than planned. The accompanying support package of £2.8 billion demonstrates our continued faith in British car manufacturing as the backbone of UK industry in the West Midlands, Wales and the North, bringing jobs and investment back into the UK whilst simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the air we breathe.
Point 5: Green Public Transport, Cycling and Walking
As well as decarbonising private vehicles, the Government plans to increase the share of journeys taken by public transport, cycling and walking. They will therefore accelerate the transition to more active and sustainable transport by investing in rail and bus services, and in measures to help pedestrians and cyclists. Funding thousands of zero-emission buses and give our towns and cities cycle lanes worthy of Holland.
Point 6: Jet Zero and Green Ships
The Government plans to position the UK at the forefront of aviation and maritime technology to push forward low carbon travel and build on UK strengths. By taking immediate steps to drive the uptake of sustainable aviation fuels, investments in R&D to develop zero-emission aircraft and developing the infrastructure of the future at our airports and seaports – making the UK the home of green ships and planes.
Point 7: Greener Buildings
Action on buildings can rapidly support jobs and level-up across the country. The Government is putting our homes, workplaces, schools and hospitals at the heart of their green economic recovery, supporting 50,000 jobs and building new supply chains and factories in the UK. Making buildings more energy efficient and moving away from fossil fuel boilers will help make people’s homes warm and comfortable, whilst keeping bills low.
Point 8: Investing in Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage
Carbon Capture, Usage & Storage (CCUS) will be an exciting new industry to capture the carbon we continue to emit and revitalise the birthplaces of the first Industrial Revolution. The Government’s ambition is to capture 10Mt of carbon dioxide a year by 2030, the equivalent of four million cars’ worth of annual emissions. Investing up to £1 billion to support the establishment of CCUS in four industrial clusters, creating ‘SuperPlaces’ in areas such as the North East, the Humber, North West, Scotland and Wales.
Point 9: Protecting Our Natural Environment
The natural environment is one of the most important and effective solutions we have for capturing and sequestering carbon long-term. The Government will safeguard our cherished landscapes, restore habitats for wildlife in order to combat biodiversity loss and adapt to climate change, all whilst creating green jobs.
Point 10: Green Finance and Innovation
Unleashing innovation and developing new sources of finance are fundamental for further developing the green technologies for net zero. The Government have committed to raising total R&D investment to 2.4% of GDP by 2027. Their vision is for the UK to be a global leader in the technologies needed to decarbonise our economies and transition to net zero. Through our world class innovators, entrepreneurs and finance institutions the focus will be on progress on the key technologies of the future.
The Ten Point Plan represents one more step on the path to ending the UK’s contribution to global emissions, building back better, supporting green jobs, and accelerating our path to net zero.
To read the full plan, click here.
At Exemplas, sustainability support for SMEs is a priority for the public sector business support contracts we deliver, in particular the pledge to net zero. Through our delivery of Innovate UK EDGE East of England and Hertfordshire Growth Hub we have been helping small businesses across the UK access grants, innovation programmes, adviser support and tailored events to help them on the road to net zero.