UK ‘Has No Scenarios’ for Net Zero Emissions
The United Kingdom’s independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) is advising against tougher targets for greenhouse gas emissions, even though the country’s current commitments are aligned with a 2°C long-term limit on average global warming, not the 1.5°C mid-century goal incorporated in the Paris Agreement.
And it looks like the CCC is recommending against ratcheting up the country’s climate ambition because it hasn’t modelled a path to that outcome.
Like this story? Subscribe to The Energy Mix and never miss an edition of our free e-digest.
“We currently have no scenarios for how the UK can achieve net zero domestic emissions,” the committee reported last week, in spite of former energy minister Andrea Leadsom’s promise to enshrine a net zero emissions target in law. That goal would have embodied the Paris Agreement’s level of ambition for the second half of the century.
Instead, the committee is urging the government to have biomass with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology ready for deployment by mid-century. That’s the same carbon capture option that critical analysts described as a “science fiction solution” and a “veiled techno-utopia” in the weeks following the UN climate conference in Paris last December.
The committee also released reports last week on the climate implications of Brexit negotiations and the prospects for decarbonizing the UK’s space heating requirements.
“Action is needed now to ensure the UK can deliver its climate obligations at least cost,” said CCC Chair Lord Deben. “For too long, government policy has neglected the UK’s aging homes and heating systems. It is time to remedy that failure with policies that are simple, stable, and designed to work for the ordinary household.”