UK's net zero strategy welcomed by University professor



A landmark Net Zero Strategy setting out how the UK will unlock £90 billion of investment as the country looks to slash carbon emissions has been welcomed by a leading scientist at Heriot-Watt University.

John Underhill, Professor of Geoscience & Energy Transition, said the Strategy, announced today (Tues 19 Oct) had shown a clear commitment by the UK Government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The UK Net Zero Strategy sets out an economy-wide plan for how British businesses and consumers will be supported in making the transition to clean energy and green technology – lowering the reliance on fossil fuels by investing in sustainable clean energy in the UK, reducing the risk of high and volatile prices in the future, and strengthening energy security.

The commitments are expected to unlock up to £90bn of private investment by 2030, and support 440,000 jobs in green industries.

Professor Underhill, said: “This is a clear demonstration of the Government’s commitment to the energy transition and sets out practical ways and projects by which the UK intends to meet its obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The pivot towards more electric vehicles and charging points shows the Energy Transition and net zero pathway that we are on. The next steps are vital though, as we have to get the additional electricity and critical minerals (lithium, cobalt and rare earth elements) needed for the EV fleet from somewhere and it must be from reliable and sustainable sources, some of which is very challenging."

He added: “The funding of two CCUS clusters that face the challenge to decarbonise our industrial clusters and to explore hydrogen as a fuel is a very significant moment for the UK. After two previous failed attempts to get projects off the ground, industry will be relieved to see the East Coast (Endurance) and HyNet (East Irish Sea) clusters approved despite the obvious and respective challenges that wind farm placement over part of Endurance and the shallow nature of the Hamilton field present. Whilst there will be disappointment in some quarters that the Scottish (Acorn/Storegga) Cluster has been held in reserve, there is encouragement that further awards may be forthcoming in due course.”

The announcement comes only weeks before Glasgow hosts the historic UN COP26 climate summit where world leaders will gather to address Climate Change.  

COP President-Designate, Alok Sharma said: “The UK continues to show climate leadership as we publish our roadmap to net zero by 2050. It shows the wealth of opportunities, including thousands of new skilled jobs, that a transition to a green economy can herald.

“With COP26 opening in less than two weeks, leaders stepping up with more commitments has never been more urgent. I’m calling on countries across the world, particularly the G20, to commit to net zero by mid-century, ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets and to set out credible implementation plans so we can limit global warming to well below 2C and keep the goal of 1.5 degrees within reach.”


Craig McManamon

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