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Committee on Climate Change highlight gaps in Government policy

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has today published its independent assessment of the UK’s Clean Growth Strategy, the Government’s recent announcement of around 100 policies, proposals and plans. This report, available to download here, assesses the Government’s latest set of policies and proposals that will enable the UK to meet its carbon budgets to 2050 or, further than this, its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

The report highlights several shortcomings in recent Government policy and shows, once again, the role that biomethane and AD can and should have in helping the UK decarbonise.

 

The headlines

The report contains several important developments. The CCC note:

  • There is a policy gap to meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets (see the chart below). The CCC find that even if all the Government’s current policies and proposals were delivered in full the UK would still fall short of its binding obligations by up to 65MtCO2e.
  • That the Government’s Clean Growth Strategy contain “some ambitious new proposals, but policy to deliver those aspirations has not yet been worked up.”
  • Risks of under-delivery must be addressed, with contingency plans put in place.


(Click on chart below to expand)

As the Clean Growth Strategy notes, the Government has re-instituted the Clean Growth Inter-Ministerial Group to help ensure that the country is on track and that, where necessary the Strategy is updated accordingly.

 

Government proposals “not yet firm enough”

The new report welcomes the Government’s recent announcement of several new high-level commitments but notes that “none of the proposals are as yet firm enough”.  Of interest to the AD industry are:

  • Phasing out of the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040;
  • Phasing out installation of high-carbon fossil fuel heating in homes and businesses off the gas grid by 2020s; and,
  • Improving the route to market for renewable technologies.

 

Policy gaps

The CCC set out several key policy gaps – many of which could be addressed by AD and further supply of biomethane. The gaps include:

  • Low-carbon heat in homes, businesses and industry. On this point the CCC note how the Government’s Strategy provides “little or not commitment to a low-carbon supply mix in heat networks and no commitment to biomethane post-2021” – both of which the CCC identify as “low-regret options”;
  • Surface transport. Here the CCC note how there is “little concrete action on emissions from HGVs” – and this is despite the recent reforms to the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation;
  • Power generation. On this issue the CCC note the risks of nuclear (cost and delay) and call for further routes to market for low-carbon electricity generation; and,
  • Agriculture and land use. Here the CCC call for “strong policies to deliver emissions reductions in agriculture”, to take effect by 2022.
  • Waste. On this point, the CCC advise that the Government’s new Resources and Waste Strategy, due later this year, “should set out firm policies to end food waste going to landfill and this should be implemented by 2025, five years earlier than currently planned.”

The below chart, taken from the new report, shows the size of the policy gap sector by sector.

 

Long-term thinking

The report also notes how Government is aware of the need it has to make strategic decisions on the future of the gas grid in the early 2020s – an issue ADBA continues to work closely with BEIS and Government on.

Biomethane can decarbonise a methane-dominant gas grid or the same feedstocks could be used in conjunction with carbon capture and storage, or a mixed grid may be the future.

Click here for more information on work being done on this issue.

 

Conclusions

The CCC assessment and the policy gaps identified in the Clean Growth Strategy are important for our industry in that they show how AD can both help Government meet UK carbons budgets as well as plan for the decarbonised world of 2050 and beyond.

Several of the policy gaps highlighted in the CCC report align with our recent letter to Climate Change Minister, Claire Perry MP, where we called for progress on:

  • Renewable heat support in the 2020s;
  • Eliminating biodegradeable waste from entering landfill; and,
  • Reducing agricultural emissions from manure management.

You can read the letter we sent to Claire Perry MP here.

The first step the Government needs to take is implementing the affirmative RHI regulations on which ADBA continues to put pressure on BEIS and Ministers.

If you have any questions about the CCC report or have thoughts you'd like to share on their assessments please do get in touch with me, thom.koller@adbioresources.org

Posted in: Industry News, Policy updates

Tags: CCC, committee on climate change, beis, anaerobic digestion, biogas, biomethane, food waste operators, crop operators, future of on farm ad, future of gas, rhi application form, food waste, biomethane as a transport fuel, policy gaps, thom koller