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Future collaboration will help UK and EU deliver shared environmental and climate goals

24th December 2020

Reacting to the news that an agreement had been reached on a trade deal between the UK and EU, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “In the current challenging economic context, the agreement of a deal between the EU and UK is welcome and will provide a degree of clarity to businesses in the UK and Europe. The UK and the EU are both aiming to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and overturn the major declines in biodiversity and the state of the natural environment. Businesses will want to see both parties continue to innovate and work together to meet these goals, grow low carbon trade and build global political momentum on climate and environmental issues. We would encourage both parties to use the upcoming COP26 climate summit to put this collaborative approach into practice.”

Nick Molho added: “Beyond today’s deal with the EU, it is essential that the UK’s trade agreements with the rest of the world are consistent with its net zero emissions and other environmental targets. This should include promoting high standards on the environment and climate change, reducing barriers for trade in low carbon goods and services, and protecting the UK’s future right to regulate on environmental and climate change policy issues.”[1]

- ENDS -

[1] In June 2020, Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing, Aligning the UK's Trade Policy with its Climate and Environmental Goals, outlining how the UK should use the opportunity to develop its own trade policy to deliver its domestic climate and environmental targets: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest/page:2#uk-trade-policy-must-be-aligned-with-environmental-and-climate-goals 

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We're recruiting! Senior Policy Officer, 1 year contract

18th December 2020

The Group is looking to hire a highly motivated Senior Policy Officer (one year fixed term contract). The successful candidate will join a small Secretariat of seven in to provide policy for Aldersgate Group members, the Board and the rest of the Secretariat on the industrial decarbonisation programme.

Main duties and responsibilities:

  • Undertaking research that supports the Group’s strategic objectives to tackle industrial emissions whilst safeguarding the sustainable growth and competitiveness of the sector; 
  • Managing a major piece of external analysis to be published by Summer 2021;
  • Building an informal ‘coalition of the willing’ ahead of COP26, comprising of members, relevant networks and leading businesses and NGOs, that can support and amplify the Group’s policy asks on industrial decarbonisation to Government;
  • Maintaining an excellent understanding of current industrial / low carbon policy issues to inform other areas of the Group’s policy work;
  • Developing policy reports and briefings, policy updates for Aldersgate Group members and timely blogs for the website;
  • Putting together responses to relevant parliamentary inquiries and government consultations;
  • Supporting preparation for policy meetings and events attended by the Head of Policy or Executive Director through the production of briefings and meeting notes;
  • Representing the Aldersgate Group at external policy meetings or events where relevant;
  • Liaising with the Senior Communications Officer to ensure effective internal and external engagement with the Group’s policy work.

The closing date for the receipt of applications is 9am on Monday 18th January. Applications received after this time will not be considered. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide individual feedback on applications. Successful applicants will be invited to interview on w/c 25 January. See the full job description for more details.


Energy White Paper: rapid energy decarbonisation is vital to net zero

14th December 2020

Today, the Aldersgate Group welcomes the Energy White Paper’s recognition of the central role of rapid energy decarbonisation in creating a net zero economy. To build on today’s important announcements and put the UK on a credible pathway to net zero, the Government should focus in 2021 on aligning the UK ETS with the net zero goal, create the conditions for full power sector decarbonisation by 2035 and develop market mechanisms to stimulate greater private investment in low carbon buildings and heavy industry.

Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: "The Energy White Paper should be commended for looking beyond just energy and recognising the central role of the power sector in supporting the decarbonisation of a wide range of sectors, including heating, transport and heavy industry. In many ways, the Energy White Paper sets out a low carbon industrial strategy vision for the UK and is based on the right premise that achieving net zero emissions can deliver significant supply chain growth and job creation across many regions of the UK.

The commitment to a UK Emissions Trading Scheme and the ambition to fully decarbonise the power sector are both welcome, but it is clear from the sixth carbon budget that we need a zero carbon power sector by 2035, together with significant investments in grid reinforcements, storage and flexibility services. All of these areas need to become policy priorities in the early 2020s, alongside the development of a carbon price trajectory aligned with the net zero target and a strategic approach to marine planning to support the rapid and environmentally sensitive deployment of offshore wind."

Nick Molho added: "The Government rightly recognised today that progress in energy efficiency and low carbon heat deployment must be accelerated after years of stagnation. Beyond the support provided by the Green Homes Grant, it is essential that binding regulatory standards and supportive fiscal incentives are introduced to stimulate private investment over the next 15 years to retrofit the nation’s buildings and 28 million homes. Low carbon heating installation should become the norm by the early 2030s, and the Future Homes Standard needs to set ambitious requirements in this regard for new buildings from 2025." [1]

Nick Molho concluded: "Significant job creation can be achieved through the decarbonisation of the energy sector and heavy industry, where market mechanisms will be rapidly needed to grow demand for low carbon industrial goods. Supporting the transition of workers from oil and gas towards marine renewables, hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage is therefore essential. This should form part of a broader national strategy to plug the UK’s low carbon skills gap and ensure that the current and future workforce are provided with the skills and re-training they require to access employment opportunities in the transition to a net zero emissions economy. The Aldersgate Group looks forward to supporting the Green Jobs Taskforce in this regard." [2]

- ENDS -

[1] On 5 October, the Aldersgate Group launched a major report, Building a net zero emissions economy, looking at the key policy measures needed in this parliamentary term to put the UK economic on a credible pathway to net zero emissions: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#businesses-call-for-urgent-policy-decisions-to-put-uk-economy-on-track-for-net-zero-emissions

[2] On 15 October, the Aldersgate Group published a policy briefing, Upskilling the UK workforce for the 21st century, calling for a low carbon skills strategy to plug the UK’s skills deficit. The briefing put forward a five-point plan of action which can be accessed here: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#skills-deficit-needs-to-be-urgently-tackled-to-get-to-net-zero

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Climate Ambition Summit: collaboration on carbon markets and net zero delivery key to success of COP26

12th December 2020

The Aldersgate Group welcomes the leadership shown by the UK Government at the Climate Ambition Summit today and the priorities that it outlined for COP26. The Group argued that pressing ahead with a net zero delivery plan for the UK and encouraging greater international collaboration around carbon markets, green economic recovery, and net zero delivery would all increase the chances of success at COP26.

Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The UK Government has made significant progress ahead of COP26 by building an international coalition of the willing at today’s summit. Continued efforts in this area will be vital to deliver the increase in global emission reduction targets that climate science is urgently calling for.

The priority themes chosen for the summit – ranging from energy transitions to green finance and nature-based solutions – all have the potential to deliver global commitments in important areas where accelerated progress is needed. Particular focus should also be paid to delivering progress on carbon markets, and in particular the mechanisms of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, as these will play a central role in helping countries deliver on their emission reduction commitments."

Nick Molho added: “Having shown leadership through its net zero target and its increased nationally determined contribution for 2030, the UK can help maximise its influence at the summit by adopting the recent recommendations from the Climate Change Committee for the sixth carbon budget and putting in place a comprehensive net zero delivery plan ahead of the COP [1]. With the UK also hosting the G7 summit in 2021, the Government will have a highly strategic and influential role to play in the year ahead and could increase the chances of success at COP26 by encouraging international collaboration on green economic recovery and net zero delivery plan [2]."

—ENDS—

[1] On 5 October, the Aldersgate Group launched a major report, Building a net zero emissions economy, looking at the key policy measures needed in this parliamentary term to put the UK economic on a credible pathway to net zero emissions: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#businesses-call-for-urgent-policy-decisions-to-put-uk-economy-on-track-for-net-zero-emissions

[2] The Aldersgate Group recently commissioned economic analysis from Dimitri Zenghelis & James Rydge at the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics (July 2020), showing the central role of low carbon and natural capital investments in supporting global economic recovery. You can access Rebuilding to last: designing an inclusive and resilient growth strategy after COVID-19 here: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest/page:2#rebuilding-to-last-uk-must-not-go-back-to-the-old-normal

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UK sends major signal ahead of COP26 with greening of UK Export Finance

11th December 2020

Reacting to the Government's announcement on ending fossil fuel support overseas through UK export finance, aid funding and trade promotion, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “We warmly welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit to end support for fossil fuel sectors overseas and shift to financing low carbon energy projects. In doing so, the UK has sent a clear signal to the wider investment market about the importance of aligning financial flows with climate objectives and has put in place the right conditions to have the world’s greenest export credit agency ahead of its COP26 presidency. In order to prevent major stranded asset projects, we urge the government to implement this change as soon as possible, with all future projects in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Government should build on today’s announcement by ensuring that environmental and climate objectives are placed at the centre of our future trade policy, with robust scrutiny measures inserted into the Trade Bill currently passing through Parliament." [1]

- ENDS -

[1] The Aldersgate Group's trade briefing, Aligning the UK’s trade policy with its climate and environmental goals, calls on the UK government to ensure its upcoming trade agreements are supportive of the UK’s environmental and climate ambitions. The report can be found here: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest/page:2#uk-trade-policy-must-be-aligned-with-environmental-and-climate-goals

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Sixth carbon budget: an unprecedented investment opportunity for UK plc

9th December 2020

Today, the Aldersgate Group welcomed the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s sixth carbon budget and its recommendation of an emission reduction target of 78% by 2035. The Group argued that this ambitious but feasible target represents a unique investment and supply chain growth opportunity for UK businesses. To be delivered on the ground, today’s carbon budget will need to be supported by rapid policy decisions in areas such as buildings, heavy industry and carbon pricing.

Reacting to the budget, Ana Musat, Head of Policy at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The CCC has set a huge, but feasible, investment challenge for the UK economy for the next 15 years and one where the private sector will have to do most of the heavy lifting. This budget represents an opportunity for the UK to get the economy going again as it emerges from the COVID-19 crisis and to invest in innovation, grow supply chains and create jobs in areas such offshore wind, EV manufacturing, low carbon industrial goods, building renovation and green finance. As more countries take on net zero emissions targets, the export opportunities for the UK could also be significant: by 2030, the global market for low carbon goods will be worth more than £1 trillion a year, representing an increase of 7 to 12 times on today, with the market for low carbon services growing in tandem." [1]

Ana Musat added: “We welcome the recent steps taken by government to meet this ambition, including the publication of the Ten Point Plan and its commitments on offshore wind and the phase out of petrol and diesel vehicle sales. To support the private sector in delivering the ambition of the sixth carbon budget on time and at low cost, the Government now needs to put forward a comprehensive net zero delivery plan, which sets out clear policy signals for all key emitting sectors of the economy. [2]
 
Such a plan should include introducing binding energy efficiency performance standards and fiscal incentives that ensure that all new buildings are ultra-low carbon and that existing homes meet a level of energy efficiency of at least EPC band C by 2035 at the latest. Other key priorities should include strengthening the grid to support the full decarbonisation of the power sector by the end of the decade, setting up a UK Emissions Trading Scheme aligned with the net zero target with a starting price of at least £40 per tCO2 [3] and introducing measures such as product standards and green public procurement to grow the demand for ultra-low carbon industrial goods." [4]

—ENDS—

[1] Ricardo AEA (2017) UK business opportunities of moving to a low carbon economy. Available at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/uk-climate-change-risk-assessment-2017/ 
 
[2] On 5 October, the Aldersgate Group launched a major report, Building a net zero emissions economy, looking at the key policy measures needed in this parliamentary term to put the UK economic on a credible pathway to net zero emissions: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/latest#businesses-call-for-urgent-policy-decisions-to-put-uk-economy-on-track-for-net-zero-emissions
 
[3, 4]  Dimitri Zenghelis & James Rydge (July 2020) Rebuilding to last: designing an inclusive and resilient growth strategy after COVID-19, commissioned by the Aldersgate Group. Available at: https://www.aldersgategroup.org.uk/asset/1684

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UK NDC needs to be supported by comprehensive net zero delivery plan

3rd December 2020

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s announcement that the UK will set its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to at least 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade, Signe Norberg, Head of Public Affairs and Communications at the Aldersgate Group, said: "It is welcome to see the UK announce a NDC which aligns with the Climate Change Committee’s advice and paves the way for achieving our net zero emissions target by 2050. As host of COP26, the UK should galvanise international action on emissions reductions, setting an ambitious precedent for others to follow. For today’s commitment to be credible and facilitate business progress towards decarbonisation, it needs to be paired with a comprehensive and joined-up net zero strategy which builds on the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan."

Signe Norberg added: "The government now needs to back this up with clear domestic measures to drive down emissions in hard to abate sectors, such as heavy industry and long-distance transport, and in sectors that are currently not covered by the NDC like shipping and aviation. Creating a robust regulatory framework and the market mechanisms to facilitate at-scale deployment of key technologies will be essential in the months to come."

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