|2020 has been like nothing anyone alive has ever experienced, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing dramatic social and economic consequences. Still, we’ve had a year of hope in terms of climate change ambition.
In the international arena, China (the top global emitter), South Korea and Japan have now joined the UK, the EU and New Zealand in setting binding net zero targets. US President-elect, Joe Biden, proposes to invest $2tn for carbon-free electricity by 2035 and to rejoin the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The UK has also significantly stepped up its efforts. Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the global call for a green recovery from the current crisis. And Government unveiled a Ten Point Plan and Comprehensive Spending Review to hopefully kickstart a Green Industrial Revolution.
Following the Climate Change Committee (CCC)’s advice, the UK is aiming to reduce total emissions by 68% compared to 1990 levels by the end of the current decade. This is extremely ambitious not least because because the UK is projected to miss the government’s existing climate targets for the years 2023 to 2027 and 2028 to 2032. In its Sixth Carbon Budget Report, CCC recognised AD as a ready-to-use technology to recycle unavoidable organic wastes. Unfortunately, the report seemed to underestimate the value of biomethane, instead relying heavily on technologies unproven at-scale, such as hydrogen.
The good news: ADBA’s work on securing a step change for the sector has finally started bearing fruit.
With the support of DIT, we have been discussing a possible AD and Green Gas Sector Deal (GGSD) with BEIS, Defra and DfT. ADBA has also been meeting relevant MPs, Shadow Ministers, and third-party organisations to build up support. In the next months, we will write to key Ministers to secure their backing. A sector deal is a pact between a sector and Government, by which both parties make clear commitments. With the GGSD, we are seeking to bring together the multiple strands of work ongoing across government into a cohesive support strategy with a shared vision. AD is a complex sector, the fact that at least three Government departments are significantly involved in supporting the industry can sometimes get in the way of having well-coordinated policies. The GGSD builds on ADBA’s Biomethane: The Pathway to 2030 report which tackles the key barriers for the sector. At the same time, it commits the industry to address some of its issues such as bringing down costs, reducing ammonia emissions from digestate and improving performance.
Since the UK is co-host to COP26, the next United Nations Climate Change Conference, it is under pressure to show leadership on climate action. So ADBA continues to lobby for swifter negotiations and policy changes.
Importantly, the AD sector must uphold its reputation for best practice and health & safety, lest the industry loses government support. So ADBA has discounted by 30% until the 31st January, 2021 accreditation to the Anaerobic Digestion Certification Scheme (ADCS), an industry-led initiative to raise standards for the design, build and operation of AD plants. For more information, click here or contact Sam Hinton at Sam.Hinton@adbioresources.org. ADBA is also hosting a training workshop on “Health & Safety Essentials” as a refresher for your current staff and introduction for your new staff. Click here to see the agenda and register.
Despite everything we are going through now, 2021 will start with a promise of hope: that vaccines and rapid testing will hopefully see the end of the disruption Covid-19 has caused, but also that COP26, re-scheduled to November 2021 as a result, will benefit from a year of extra planning and the need to deliver a green post-Covid recovery. We at ADBA will do everything in our power to ensure the UK arrives at COP in the best possible position – our goal is to achieve an exciting climate announcement such as Government’s commitment to a Green Gas Sector Deal. On the 16th and 17th February, ADBA’s National Conference will be a great opportunity for the AD community to virtually meet to work together towards growing and professionalising the sector. Click here to see the programme and to register.
In the meantime, the whole ADBA team and I wish you a relaxing and no doubt much needed break over Christmas and New Year. #togetherwecan maintain our resilience and ensure we are ready to kickstart the building of an AD industry we are all proud of in 2021.
Chief Executive, ADBA