BEIS has released the government’s Clean Growth Strategy
This strategy sets out the government’s proposals for decarbonising the UK economy through the 2020s
Clean growth means growing our national income while cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Achieving clean growth, while ensuring an affordable energy supply for businesses and consumers, is at the heart of the UK’s Industrial Strategy. It will increase our productivity, create good jobs, boost earning power for people right across the country, and help protect the climate and environment upon which we and future generations depend.
UK Leadership and Progress Our Strategy for clean growth starts from a position of strength. The UK was one of the first countries to recognise and act on the economic and security threats of climate change. The Climate Change Act, passed in 2008, committed the UK to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 per cent by 2050 when compared to 1990 levels, through a process of setting five year caps on greenhouse gas emissions termed ‘Carbon Budgets’. This approach has now been used as a model for action across the world, and is mirrored by the United Nations’ Paris Agreement. We have been among the most successful countries in the developed world in growing our economy while reducing emissions. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by 42 per cent while our economy has grown by two thirds3 . This means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation, while leading the G7 group of countries in growth in national income over this period. This progress has meant that we have outperformed the target emissions reductions of our first carbon budget (2008 to 2012) by one per cent and we project that we will outperform against our second and third budgets, covering the years 2013 to 2022, by almost five per cent and four per cent respectively. Our economy is expected to grow by 12 per cent over that time. This will be a significant achievement. We have made progress across every sector of our economy.
In 2016, 47 per cent of our electricity came from low carbon sources, around double the level in 2010, and we now have the largest installed offshore wind capacity in the world. Our homes and commercial buildings have become more efficient in the way they use energy which helps to reduce emissions and also cut energy bills, for example average household energy consumption has fallen by 17 per cent since 1990. Automotive engine technology has helped drive down emissions per kilometre driven by up to 16 per cent and driving a new car bought in 2015 will save car owners up to £200 on their annual fuel bill, compared to a car bought new in 2000. England also recycles nearly four times more than it did in 2000
This progress has been aided by the falling costs of many low carbon technologies: renewable power sources like solar and wind are comparable in cost to coal and gas in many countries; energy efficient light bulbs are over 80 per cent cheaper today than in 2010; and the cost of electric vehicle battery packs has tumbled by over 70 per cent in this time. As a result of this technological innovation, new high value jobs, industries and companies have been created. And this is driving a new, technologically innovative, high growth and high value “low carbon” sector of the UK economy. Not only are we rapidly decarbonising parts of the domestic economy, but thanks to our world leading expertise in technologies such as offshore wind, power electronics for low carbon vehicles and electric motors, and global leadership in green finance, we are successfully exporting goods and services around the world – for example, one in every five electric vehicles driven in Europe is made in the UK. This progress now means there are more than 430,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains, employing people in locations right across the country. This progress has altered the way that we see many of the trade-offs between investing in low carbon technologies that help secure our future but that might incur costs today. It is clear that actions to cut our emissions can be a winwin: cutting consumer bills, driving economic growth, creating high value jobs and helping to improve our quality of life. Of course, greenhouse gas emissions are a global problem and action is needed from all countries. The UK has played a key role in demonstrating international leadership on tackling climate change through its domestic action, climate diplomacy and financial support. The UK was among the first to recognise climate change as an economic and political issue as opposed to solely an environmental one and has used its world leading economic, science and technical skills to shape the global debate around climate change, for instance making the economic case for climate action in the landmark Stern Report in 2006. The UK has also used its influence and resources to help developing countries with their own clean growth – and our actions to date are expected to save almost 500 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the projects, more than the entire annual emissions of France. While we do not count these results against our domestic targets, we can be proud of the impact of the UK’s commitment to global climate action.