UK net-zero
Image credit: Stock

The UK’s Committee on Climate Change’s latest report, ‘Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to global warming’ warns that the country must quadruple its supply of low-carbon and renewable energy to phase out carbon emissions by 2050.

The report goes on to suggest a legally-binding target, and a significant ramping up of existing renewables policies.

The report sets outs a series of scenarios and applicable measures in order for the net-zero target to be met, including doubling electricity demand, and all power sourced from low-carbon sources compared to 50% currently.

To reach the quadrupled generation required, the report states, the UK would require 75GW of offshore wind to be installed by 2050, compared to 8GW available currently, and the 30GW targeted by energy department BEIS’ sector deal by 2030.

In response to the report, ScottishPower chief executive Keith Anderson has urged the UK government to “urgently remove” barriers associated with onshore wind.

Anderson said: “There is no cheaper form of renewable energy, it is quick to build and we already know it can lower the cost of energy."

Scotland has responded to CCC suggestions, making news by declaring the nation will be at net-zero by 2045.

Under the UK’s current legally-binding target, emissions must be reduced to 20% of current levels by 2050.

“Policies must be urgently strengthened and must deliver tangible emissions reductions – current policy is not enough even for existing targets,” it added.

The report estimated the cost of the transition to net-zero would cost the country up to 1-2% of gross domestic product per year in the lead-up to 2050.

“The great news is that it is not only possible for the UK to play its full part – we explain how in our new report – but it can be done within the cost envelope that Parliament has already accepted,” said CCC chairman Lord Deben.

“The government should accept the recommendations and set about making the changes needed to deliver them without delay,” he added.

In response, BEIS has said it is “not immediately accepting the recommendations” set out in the CCC’s report and will respond “in due course to ensure the UK continues to be a world leader in tackling climate change”.

“To continue the UK’s global leadership we asked the CCC to advise the government on how and when we could achieve net zero,” said BEIS Secretary Greg Clark.

He added: “This report now sets us on a path to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely.”