The trade body for the energy sector is urging the government to subject all proposed policies to a “net zero test.”
Energy UK says it wants the government to assess all policies to ensure they support and don’t undermine its goal of decarbonising the UK’s economy by 2050.
Lawrence Slade, chief executive at Energy UK, said: “Delivering net-zero is not only achievable, it is critical. But it is also a game-changer, and we need to see a step-change in the pace of action and a consistent and concerted effort across the whole of Government.”
The trade body also highlighted the energy sector’s own positive contribution to environmental targets.
According to a new report, “Energy in the UK,” in the 11 years since the Climate Change Act, the energy sector has reduced its CO2 emissions by 62%, to shrink its share of the UK’s total carbon emissions from 33% to 18%.
The emissions cuts achieved by the power sector – down 68% since 1990 – account for 60% of the UK’s economy’s overall carbon reductions.
Low-carbon sources contributed 53% of the UK’s electricity in 2018, with renewables supplying a third.
“The power sector has been world-leading in reducing the UK’s emissions, delivering benefits for the economy, the environment and customers, but we must now go further and faster if we are to achieve this target. Our industry stands ready to work in partnership with Government to deliver our shared ambition and we must start urgently. There is no time to waste,” Slade said.
The Committee on Climate Change has previously suggested that emissions reductions in the power sector have masked stagnant or even increasing emissions in other sectors, including transport, buildings, and agriculture.
Transport recently surpassed the energy sector as the UK’s largest source of carbon emissions, accounting for a third of all emissions in 2018.
In calling for a net-zero test, the energy industry wants to ensure all government policies and sectors are aligned with decarbonisation goals.
A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said it would consider the proposal: “We recognise the importance and urgency of taking action right across the economy and in every strand of government to deliver on our world-leading net zero target.
“We welcome Energy UK’s innovative thinking on how to ensure our decarbonisation goals are mainstreamed across all decision making and will consider its proposal carefully.”