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Businesses support rapid implementation of environmental principles

12th May 2022

Reacting to the publication of the Draft Policy Statement on Environmental Principles, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We welcome the publication of the Draft Policy Statement on Environmental Principles, which provides greater clarity on the application of environmental principles by Ministers. Businesses would like to see a rapid and full implementation of these principles across all Government departments, with environmental principles being considered at a very early stage in the policy development process. From a business perspective, this will help ensure that all Government policies are supportive of positive environmental outcomes, and are coherent and cost-effective. At a time where the focus is on restoring nature – not just preventing further environmental damage –, the consistent implementation of environmental principles across Whitehall should go hand in hand with cross-government efforts to meet the nature restoration targets currently being developed under the Environment Act.”
 
Nick Molho concluded: “The Environmental Principles Policy Statement provides some welcome clarity on how the five environmental principles should be applied in practice. However, the guidance provided on the application of some principles, such as the precautionary principle, would benefit from further clarification through the development of specific case studies. We would encourage the Government to work closely with stakeholders on developing these in the months ahead.”

Forest and river

Time of crisis demands raised ambitions on energy efficiency and power decarbonisation

10th May 2022

Reacting to today’s Queen’s Speech and the State Opening of Parliament, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “Addressing the energy efficiency of the UK’s built environment and accelerating our transition away from volatile fossil fuels in heating is crucial to support households through the ongoing cost of living crisis. Today’s announcements make some progress in this area, with the welcome intentions to boost consumer protections and trust in new technologies by setting up a market standard and trading scheme for heat pumps, and appointing Ofgem as regulator for heat networks through the new Energy Bill.
 
Nick Molho added: “However, it is critical to roll out a comprehensive programme for energy efficiency in parallel, as the quickest way to reduce demand for gas and bills in the short term. Boosting energy efficiency holds the potential not only to reduce bills, but also create jobs across the country as part of the government’s “Levelling Up” agenda. With this in mind we welcome the new measures outlined in today’s speech to introduce business models for CCS, transmission and storage infrastructure and hydrogen, which are key in driving down costs and boosting investment in these new low carbon technologies.
 
Nick Molho concluded: “The establishment of the Future System Operator is also a positive step forward, ensuring better coordination and oversight of future grid transmission development needs, which is a vital part of the effective renewable power system we need to end our reliance on fossil fuels. To build upon this, the role of Ofgem in facilitating net zero delivery must be clarified, with a focus on allowing greater levels of anticipatory investment in transmission infrastructure to build an effective net zero energy system. It is also crucial that introducing competition to the UK’s onshore electricity measures delivers higher investment and cost savings, and does not lead to delivery delays.”

CIRCLE_pexels-pixabay-258117

Greater energy independence requires more focus on energy efficiency 

7th April 2022

Reacting to the publication of the British Energy Security Strategy, Ana Musat, Head of Policy at Aldersgate Group said: “Accelerating the decarbonisation of the UK's power sector, electrifying more sectors of the economy and driving greater energy efficiency all have an essential role to play in improving the UK's energy security. With this in mind, we welcome the ambition in today’s British Energy Security Strategy to provide 95% of electricity from low carbon sources by 2030, the boosted targets for technologies such as offshore wind and solar power and the increased ambition in low carbon and green hydrogen. The stronger focus on delivery – including on transmission connections for offshore wind projects – is very welcome. However, the Government’s ambitions in low-cost onshore wind could be much bolder and it is disappointing to see so little focus on new regulatory measures and incentives to drive more investment in energy efficiency. Reducing energy demand is an essential part of lowering energy bills for households and businesses and making our economy more resilient to price shocks.”  
 
Ana Musat added: “It is however encouraging to see an emphasis on planning reforms aimed at bringing shovel-ready renewable projects online much faster, by simplifying the process for obtaining transmission grid connections and streamlining the consenting regime. Currently, transmission connections and grid reinforcement projects can take on average between 6-8 years from formulation to consent, with costs between £15- £50m per project [1]. This clearly needs to be reduced to maximise the full potential of the UK’s offshore wind sector and its capacity to deliver clean, cheap power.”
 
Ana Musat concluded: “Whilst unprecedented short-term energy security concerns mean measures like improving gas storage capacity and optimising production from existing fields in the North Sea are necessary, accelerating the transition to net zero emissions will be the most effective way to improve the UK’s energy security and economic resilience in the medium and long term. It is therefore crucial that the Government’s policy capacity remains focused on this in the years ahead and that the rapid implementation of the Net Zero Strategy is a cross-government priority.”
 
[1] Quod Consulting (March 2021) - National Grid: Planning for 40GW by 2030 – how to meet the challenge

Windfarm for old site

Aldersgate Group comment: IPCC Working Group III report

4th April 2022

Responding to the findings of today’s IPCC Working Group III report on climate mitigation, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Today’s IPCC report is a reminder that despite the ongoing geopolitical crisis, the risks relating to climate change have not gone away and require an urgent response, including a rapid reduction in fossil fuel use. The IPCC’s companion report on adaptation [1] and the UK’s own climate change risk assessment [2] made clear the dangers we face now and in the future through further inaction. In response to today’s report, the UK Government should press ahead with its Net Zero Strategy and should use its Energy Security Strategy expected later this week to significantly scale up renewable energy, support more electrification across key sectors and drive energy efficiency across the economy. Reducing reliance on volatile and expensive fossil fuels and accelerating the net zero transition not only makes sense to lower emissions, it also presents an opportunity to boost energy security, drive down energy bills and level up the economy [3].
 
Nick Molho added: It is positive to see the report highlight the importance of action in this decade to mitigate the built environment’s carbon emissions. The UK must increase its ambition in this area and take action to drive investment in energy efficiency, and deliver the skills programmes required to make the most of this opportunity in line with the recommendations of the Green Jobs Taskforce. The decarbonisation of heavy industry also features as a priority in the IPCC report. The UK is off to a good start on industrial decarbonisation but must push ahead with policies that make low carbon fuels more widely available to heavy industries, whilst also growing the demand for low carbon industrial products through initiatives such as product standards and a carbon border adjustment mechanism [4].
 
Nick Molho concluded: “Despite a challenging context, the international community must present a united front on delivering the ambitious action needed to address the climate crisis. As COP President, the UK Government has a crucial role to play in this process. The UK must ensure that by the start of COP27, nations deliver on promises made in Glasgow to increase emission reduction pledges (INDCs) at COP27, make stronger commitments to phase out fossil fuels, put forward tangible emission reduction plans and actually deliver on the climate finance promised to developing economies. With a world leading climate policy framework and one of the first net zero strategies of any major economy, the UK also has a huge role to play in sharing its policy development and institutional expertise with other nations, and in particular developing economies.”

[1] IPCC, AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, February 2022
[2] UK Government, UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022, January 2022
[3] Aldersgate Group, Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker, October 2022
[4] Aldersgate Group, The Missing Link: Establishing Strong UK Supply Chains for Low Carbon Industrial Products, March 2022 

Iceberg

Independent evaluation of net zero targets vital to drive investment and match ambition with delivery

31st March 2022

Reacting to the United Nations Secretary General's announcement to set up an independent expert panel to review net zero targets, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “At a time when the impacts of climate change are being increasingly felt around the globe and the world economy faces high and unpredictable fossil fuel prices, there has never been a more strategic time for businesses to move to zero or net zero emissions. In the run up to COP26, an increasing number of businesses recognised the commercial and moral imperative of playing their part to tackle climate change and have taken on net zero emissions targets. This is welcome. But it is important that there is a strong baseline and level playing field in place that allows investors, businesses, consumers and the public to independently assess the credibility of different commitments and the progress that individual businesses are making to meet them.”

Nick Molho added: “Ensuring that net zero targets, and the plans to achieve them, are based on scientific, transparent and comparable criteria is not only key to building public and consumer trust, it is also essential to guide investment decisions. An increasing number of investors want to grow their stake in low-carbon technologies, infrastructure and services, and to do so, they need to have a clear and reliable picture of businesses’ climate commitments and how these compare in ambition. So, as an organisation that has always stood for robust targets and disclosure requirements from business, the Aldersgate Group fully supports the UN Secretary General António Guterres’ decision to set up an independent expert panel to provide recommendations on the most credible ways to set and report progress against net zero targets.”

Nick Molho concluded: “To be effective and ensure clarity, the work of the expert group should build on the most credible target setting frameworks that exist already, such as the Science-Based Target Initiative, as a lot of work has already gone into identifying what constitutes robust, science-based criteria. It would also be highly valuable if the Expert Group could provide independent recommendations and guidance on how businesses should develop their net zero transition plans, how they should report on their progress against their targets, and how these requirements can then best be incorporated in domestic and global legislation.”

United Nations

Aldersgate Group reacts to the Chancellor's Spring Statement

23rd March 2022

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “We strongly welcome the Chancellor’s announcement to remove VAT from a broad range of energy efficiency and renewables investments in homes. These measures will help make domestic energy efficiency and clean energy projects more attractive and help lower consumer bills.
 
However, in light of the significant energy security and gas price crisis facing the UK, the Government should also be looking at introducing supplementary measures to drive greater investment in energy efficiency and low carbon heat in homes. These could include the introduction of regulatory energy efficiency targets, incentives introduced through the UK Infrastructure Bank such as 0% interest loans for energy efficiency measures and further grants for heat pumps, as well as a dedicated programme to accelerate skills development in energy efficiency and low carbon heat installation.”
 
Nick Molho added: “We welcome the announcement to use tax reform to promote greater investment in skills and innovation. Increasing investment in these areas is not only essential to improve the UK economy’s productivity, but also to accelerate low carbon investment in key sectors like energy, transport, heavy industry and buildings.”
 
Nick Molho concluded: “The Chancellor outlined that the UK’s growth forecast for the coming years has been significantly reduced. This comes at a time where the UK economy faces not only a cost-of-living crisis, but also a need to create good quality jobs across the country to level up the economy. Keeping the UK on track to meet its net zero emissions target has a key role to play in driving investment and job creation across the country in areas such as electric vehicle manufacturing, offshore wind, insulation and heavy industry. Implementing the Government’s Net Zero Strategy at pace should therefore remain a top priority for the Government.”


ENDS

PARLI

Move to net zero emissions creates an opportunity to grow UK industrial supply chains – but a comprehensive plan is needed

17th March 2022

The Aldersgate Group launches a new report today arguing that the decarbonisation of the UK’s heavy industrial and manufacturing sectors could drive the growth of low carbon industrial supply chains in the UK, increase these sectors’ contribution to the economy, and make UK industry more resilient to global economic shocks and supply chain disruptions.
 
Based on significant engagement with major businesses across heavy industrial and manufacturing sectors, this report calls on Government to build on its Net Zero and Industrial Decarbonisation Strategies and put in place a comprehensive plan to establish stronger low carbon industrial supply chains. It outlines the measures required to accelerate innovation, grow the demand for low carbon industrial products, incentivise greater resource efficiency, provide a level playing field against high carbon imports, and stimulate investment in skills. The key recommendations are summarised below. [1]


As of COP26, 136 countries – covering over 90% of global GDP – have committed to achieving net zero. [3] This presents a significant opportunity for heavy industry and manufacturing to supply the essential materials for net zero infrastructure: from green steel in wind turbines and EVs, glass for solar panels and low carbon concrete in energy efficient buildings.
 
Establishing strong low carbon industrial supply chains will be pivotal to ensuring that the UK reaps the economic benefits of supplying these components. For example, just one 10MW wind turbine requires £880,000 worth of steel. This presents domestic producers with a significant opportunity if they are able to provide a share of the materials needed to meet the
Government’s target of 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030.
 
Similarly, were the UK to retain and reprocess the lithium and cobalt in its existing EV fleet – which together are worth over £57m [4] – it could mitigate the environmental and human rights impact of new mining exploration, reap the economic benefits from greater resource efficiency, and become less dependent on imports of precious metals from countries such as China and Russia.
 
With heavy industry a major employer outside of London and the South East, growing a strong industrial base, fit to supply the building blocks of a net zero economy, will be key to Government’s levelling up agenda. For example, the UK’s regionally dispersed industrial clusters are hubs of economic activity, providing 1.5 million jobs and exporting goods and services worth £320 billion. [5]
 
However, high electricity prices, low public investment, and low retention of key materials for remanufacture have led to an increase of imports of industrial products rather than increased demand for domestic low carbon products. This can lead to major delays – as has been seen in the construction sector, where the delivery of key products (such as bricks) is taking as long as 12 months due to supply shortages, affecting the UK’s capacity to build and exacerbating the housing crisis. [6] Meanwhile, the current gas price crisis and shortages of key raw materials illustrate the impacts of fluctuations in global supplies.
 
Despite welcome commitments in the Industrial Decarbonisation and Net Zero Strategies, a comprehensive plan from government, including targeted and more accessible investment to support fuel switching and large-scale deployment of key technologies is needed to create a business environment conducive to investment in low carbon production.
 
Backed by extensive engagement with representatives from heavy industry and manufacturing such as the steel, cement, glass, construction and automotive sectors, today’s publication makes recommendations to establish a robust industrial and manufacturing base in the UK that is able to take advantage of growing demand for low carbon products, and mitigate key dependencies on other countries for critical materials and components vital to the UK’s economy.

Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group, said: “UK heavy industrial sectors already employ more than 2.6 million people and contribute £170bn each year [7] to the UK economy. The net zero transition provides an opportunity to grow this contribution even further by increasing investment in domestic supply chains to support these sectors as they decarbonise. For this to materialise, the Government must put in place a comprehensive set of measures that grows the demand for low carbon industrial products, accelerates innovation in key technologies such as CCS and low carbon hydrogen, makes the price of electricity more competitive and provides a level playing field against high carbon imports whilst maximising opportunities to export low carbon industrial products.”

Key recommendations for government include:

  • Introduce measures to reduce UK industrial electricity prices by accelerating investment in grid development and low-cost renewables (such as solar, onshore wind and offshore wind), improving co-ordination between grid and generation infrastructure, supporting continued growth of interconnection and storage, and establishing a market for long-term, zero carbon and tradable electricity contracts.
  • Put forward tangible proposals for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) – a system through which importers must purchase carbon certificates that correspond to the domestic carbon price they would have paid if they produced those goods in the UK. This would prevent high carbon imports from gaining a growing market share at the expense of low carbon goods produced by UK firms.
  • Alongside proposals for a CBAM, Government should finalise the consultation on product standards with a view to introducing mandatory standards with targets on embodied carbon, lifecycle emissions, and the recycled content of products sold on the UK market. This would grow the demand for products such as car bodies made with recycled steel, or cement with a lower level of embodied carbon in the buildings sector.
  • In public and private procurement contracts, Government and businesses with significant purchasing power should implement requirements for a higher percentage of goods procured to be low carbon. This would drive demand for goods with lower levels of embodied and lifecycle emissions, such as glazing made with recycled glass, and incentivise the UK’s heavy industries to pivot to greener production processes.
  • Increase innovation funding to facilitate fuel switching and the development of new low carbon technologies where routes to electrification and low carbon production do not yet exist. This could follow a similar model to the Glass Futures initiative, which, through industry and government collaboration, has established an ultra low carbon glass making plant that trials new technologies and fuels, and has created a research and developing sector to take the sector closer to net zero. Rapidly finalising the hydrogen and CCUS business models will be essential in lowering the cost of these technologies and speeding up their adoption across key sectors.
  • BEIS and the Department for Education (DfE) should work with industry, unions, and Local Authorities (LAs), to design skills centres to train and reskill workers in areas that are essential to delivering a net zero economy. This should include delivering the National Skills Fund to retrain workers and ensure a just transition.
  • Offer tax relief on investments that create cheaper, more efficient practices for recovering and sorting materials, and introduce tax incentives, such as reduced business rates on waste materials sold in the UK to stimulate investment in the recovery and reprocessing of valuable resources that already exist within the UK.
  • Establish mandatory sustainability criteria for the export of waste and scrap to create a level playing field between domestic and international markets for waste materials.

Alan Tinline, Group Head of Health, Safety and Environment at Associated British Ports, said: “It has never been more apparent that the UK must transition urgently towards low carbon industrial supply chains. This will require a more efficient use of energy, widespread modal shifts, and expansion in low carbon energy production to power a resource-efficient economy through innovation and upskilling. ABP is working at pace in all these areas to support and facilitate rapid decarbonisation in the supply chain. This policy briefing from the Aldersgate Group highlights a number of key areas that will accelerate decarbonisation in the supply chain, with actions that could be undertaken in short order.”
 
Adam Whitmore, Principal Policy Adviser at Bellona, said: “Achieving net zero presents tremendous opportunities for UK industry and the wider UK economy. This report provides a welcome range of practical recommendations for how these opportunities can be realised, from developing innovation and skills to creating demand for low carbon products and enhancing competitiveness. It is an important contribution to the policy debates.”

Fiacre O’Donnell, Director of Sustainability at Encirc, said: “Establishing a low carbon industrial sector offers a number of significant opportunities to the UK, from emissions reductions and resource efficiency, to job creation, exports, and expansion into rapidly growing markets for low carbon goods. We welcome this Aldersgate Group briefing and the recommendations it makes to government, who must support the growth of competitive low carbon industrial supply chains to ensure the UK stands ready to harness these opportunities as we approach net zero.”

Danial Sturge, Carbon Policy Practice Manager at the Energy Systems Catapult, said: “Industry sits at the heart of innovation, which is not only important for the UK’s Net Zero ambitions, but provides an opportunity to lead the world in creating a market for low carbon manufacturing and products, supported by robust carbon accounting and standards. The Aldersgate Group’s recommendations lay out the near-term steps needed to reach our long-term climate goals.”

Roz Bulleid, Deputy Policy Director at Green Alliance, said: “Forward thinking companies and consumers are already asking for greener raw materials and components – recycled steel, lower carbon cement, more efficient glass – UK industries need to adapt or see their markets wither away. But adaptation isn’t easy when you’re talking about large, capital intensive plants with long lifecycles. That’s why, as this report sets out, the government needs to step in, bridging the gap to a greener industrial future with a suite of policy measures that can level up the playing field for early movers and give long term confidence to those looking to invest in lower carbon processes and products.”

Sam French, Business Development Director at Johnson Matthey, said: “The UK’s transition to net zero is urgently needed for both the climate and economy. It also gives industrial producers and manufacturers the opportunity to benefit from growing demand for low carbon products. This report outlines the steps needed to drive innovation towards low carbon production, and the measures that will ensure the UK can provide vital industrial goods and services at a time when the world is facing increasing political and economic instability.”

Ed Heath-Whyte, Head of Environment and Sustainability at Liberty Steel, said: “As the drive towards net zero intensifies, low-carbon products present significant opportunities to reduce energy consumption, cut waste, and increase reuse. The role of demand-side policies from UK Government in addressing product standards, public procurement, carbon leakage mitigation amongst others will be crucial to encouraging this market growth. The recommendations from the Aldersgate Group report provide important thinking on the policy environment needed to support industrial competitiveness and to develop relevant supply chains.”

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive Officer at the Materials Processing Institute, said: “Industrial products are vital for our security and economic prosperity, they are also the basis on which the green economy can be realised.  Our industrial supply chains are key employers throughout the UK, but are at risk from high energy prices and offshoring.  As we look to green our economy and increase resilience, the recommendations in this report from Aldersgate Group, will ensure that the UK captures the opportunities of Net Zero, creates jobs and protects our vital sovereign capability.”

John Howe, Managing Director of Michelin UK, said: “Re-treaded truck tyres can be a significant contributor to resource efficiency and decarbonisation. We welcome this Aldersgate Group paper and we would echo the calls for government to do all it can to retain valuable secondary materials for remanufacturing in the UK.”

Philippa Spence, Managing Director at Ramboll UK said: “As the world continues with its transition to a net zero economy, the need for low carbon industrial products will grow exponentially. This means growth, jobs and exports not only for the UK’s heavy industries but all along the value chain, in areas like the construction and automotive sectors. We welcome this new report from the Aldersgate Group, which puts forward tangible solutions to enable the UK to fully harness these opportunities, while accelerating the pace and cost efficiency of industrial decarbonisation.”
 
Kate Turner, Regulation and Policy Director at ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Doubling down on decarbonisation will create a secure, clean, green and fairer economy and going faster and harder on net zero is critical if we’re to retain the UK’s competitive advantage in renewables and support long-term energy security. Across ScottishPower we’re investing £10bn to accelerate low carbon infrastructure, creating green jobs and huge opportunities to establish a sustainable UK supply chain that can compete globally for decades to come. We need to seize this moment, the recommendations in this report can help to unlock clean, cheap and secure power generated at home and provide the framework for green growth.”
 
Olivia Whitlam, Head of Sustainability at Siemens, said: “Taking a thorough approach to creating a low carbon market in all tiers of the supply chain not only supports decarbonisation of the economy, but has the potential to deliver significant economic benefits, driving resource efficiency and security to ensure the UK can thrive. We welcome the recommendations of this Aldersgate Group report, which lay out a clear framework for government to accelerate strong supply chains while harnessing these benefits of the transition to net zero.”
 
John Scanlon, Chief Executive Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “Improved resource efficiency is critical to decarbonising the UK’s heavy industries and manufacturing sectors, and the recycling and resource management sector has an important role to play in this. Whether it is working on solutions to re-use material that others throw away, recycling wind turbine blades or supplying the cement industry with a fossil fuel alternative, at SUEZ we are already playing our part. However, there is much more to do for the UK to meet the net zero challenge. I therefore welcome the recommendations in this Aldersgate Group paper, that set out tangible steps to improve performance throughout the supply chain.”
 
Julia Barrett, Chief Sustainability Officer at Willmott Dixon, said: “We warmly welcome the Aldersgate Group’s new briefing on low carbon industrial supply chains. The built environment consumes almost half of the materials extracted globally every year, and as this report highlights, we need a systematic rethink to drive the supply of low carbon products and investment in skills and resource efficiency. There is an opportunity for Government to accelerate the transition through its own procurement, and by joint departmental working to eliminate the unintended consequences of siloed policy development.

- FOOTNOTES -

Our previous reports on industrial decarbonisation include Accelerating the Decarbonisation of Industrial Clusters and Dispersed Sites – which provides a comprehensive policy framework for the quick and cost-effective decarbonisation of heavy industry – and Delivering Competitive Industrial Electricity Prices in an Era of Transition – which provides a series of measures that government can take to reduce the cost of electricity for industrial users.
 
[1] The Aldersgate Group’s new report, The Missing Link: Establish a strong UK supply chain for low carbon industrial products, is available to download from the button on the right.
 
[2] This publication will be discussed at a public webinar from 9.30am to 11.15am on March 17 with panellists from key industry organisations and the lead author of the report. You can register here.
 
[3] Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, Data-Driven Enviro Lab, New Climate Institute, Oxford Net Zero (2021) Net Zero Tracker [accessed 03/03/2022]
 
[4] Green Alliance (November 2021) Critical Point: Securing the raw materials needed for the UK’s green transition p.15
 
[5] HM Government (September 2017) Industrial Clusters in England
 
[6] Federation of Master Builders (20 April, 2018) Material Prices Continue to Rocket, Says FMB [accessed 03/03/2022]
 
[7] BEIS (March 2021) Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy p.16


Ambitious framework needed to deliver step change in nature recovery

16th March 2022

Responding to the publication of the Nature Recovery Green Paper and the environmental targets consultation, Signe Norberg, Head of Public Affairs and Communications at the Aldersgate Group said: “Businesses across the economy – from water and food to energy and construction - have a key role to play in delivering a positive step change in nature restoration and see this as a key part of improving their resilience and competitiveness. To this end, businesses are strongly supportive of the introduction of ambitious environmental regulations and targets that are set at the right level, have clear lead-in periods and are properly enforced. Today's publication of the Nature Recovery Green Paper and the targets consultation is a welcome step forward. However, to attract meaningful and long-term private investment, the ultimate targets and reforms must aim to substantially improve environmental standards and must result in bold, forward looking, well joined-up and properly enforced environmental regulations, policies and market mechanisms."

Signe Norberg concluded: "To be credible, the new nature improvement targets under the Environment Act must focus on delivering significant environmental improvements and it is not yet evident from the consultation that this is the case for all targets. Critically, businesses can only respond to long-term targets if these are backed by nearer-term interim targets and clear policies and incentives, both of which will need to be clearly set out in the next Environment Improvement Plan due in January 2023. Today’s long-term targets consultation provides us with some important initial building blocks. But to achieve the vision that underpins the Environment Act, it is essential that this process delivers bold and carefully joined-up targets across all key areas of policy, including on resource efficiency where policy progress has stalled in recent years." [1]

- ENDS -

[1] Aldersgate Group (2021) Closing the Loop

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Now is the time to take urgent action on climate adaptation

28th February 2022

Responding to the findings of today’s IPCC Working Group II report on climate adaptation, Nick Molho, Executive Director of the Aldersgate Group said: “Today’s report from the IPCC makes it crystal clear that adapting to the impacts of climate change cannot be an afterthought and must be a priority across all areas of government policy. It provides further global evidence of the impact of climate change, adding to the UK’s own climate change risk assessment published in January [1]. The UK and the international community must now urgently accelerate efforts to both cut emissions and improve their resilience to climate impacts. This is essential to protect homes, infrastructure, food production and the resilience of the global supply chains that our economies and people rely on.
 
Building on the Glasgow Climate Pact, this report is also a reminder to the UK and the Global North that they must act now to deliver increased climate finance to developing economies to support them with the urgent investment required to address climate change adaptation and emission cuts. Tangible progress in this area must be a key outcome of COP27 in Egypt.”

Nick Molho concluded: "Now is the time to take urgent action by backing nature and implementing policy measures that reflect the severity of this report’s findings and minimise the future impact of climate change on society, infrastructure and businesses. Public investment in adaptation measures such as flood defences must be increased alongside supportive planning reforms that encourage climate resilient developments, and policy incentives that can help drive private investment in key areas such as nature restoration."

FOOTNOTES

[1] On 10 February the Aldersgate Group held an event exploring the UK’s third Climate Change Risk Assessment featuring Baroness Brown and an expert business panel. Click here to watch the recording.

Climate adaptation

Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE appointed Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group

24th February 2022

Today, the Aldersgate Group announces the appointment of climate scientist Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE as its new Honorary President. She will take over from former Honorary President, Dame Fiona Woolf DBE [1]. Prof Shuckburgh will provide strategic scientific advice to help guide the Aldersgate Group’s objectives and work programme. 

Prof Shuckburgh is a leading public voice on climate science and brings unparalleled academic experience and insights to the Aldersgate Group. She is currently Director of Cambridge Zero [2], the University of Cambridge’s major climate change initiative, which she joined following more than a decade at the British Antarctic Survey leading a national research programme on the Southern Ocean and its role in climate.

She is also a fellow of the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership, the British Antarctic Survey and the Royal Meteorological Society, and co-authored the Ladybird Book on Climate Change with HRH The Prince of Wales and Tony Juniper. To mark her outstanding achievements to date, Prof Shuckburgh was awarded an OBE in 2016 for services to science and the public communication of science. [3]

Prof Shuckburgh joins the Aldersgate Group at the start of a critical year for delivering meaningful progress on climate change and the environment. The pledges made at COP26, the UK’s Net Zero Strategy and the Environment Act collectively set a clear roadmap to decarbonise the economy and restore the natural environment. A key focus for the Aldersgate Group in 2022 will be to ensure that these targets and ambitions are underpinned by detailed domestic policies that will drive affordable business investment in low carbon infrastructure, biodiversity and nature at the pace and scale called for by science. [4]

Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE said: “With carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere approaching 420 ppm, global temperature rise passing 1.1C and extreme weather becoming normality, climate commitments must be translated into action today to avert disaster. I am delighted to take on the role of Honorary President to support the Aldersgate Group and its cross-sectoral membership in promoting an accelerated, just transition to a resilient and sustainable zero-carbon economy. As the world emerges from the pandemic, it is vitally important that the voice of progressive business is heard clearly to ensure the world sets forth towards a prosperous green future.” 

Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “To play its part in preventing the worst impacts from climate change, it is essential that the UK economy cut emissions to meet our interim targets. This will also allow the UK to develop a globally competitive low carbon economy which will deliver investment and jobs across the country. I look forward to working with Prof Shuckburgh to ensure that the Aldersgate Group’s work rises to the challenge.” 

Nick Molho, Executive Director, Aldersgate Group, said: “I would like to thank Dame Fiona Woolf for the six years of service she dedicated to the Group and the strong links she helped the Aldersgate Group build with a wide cross-section of the business community in the UK.

“We are delighted to welcome Prof Shuckburgh as our new Honorary President. The Aldersgate Group and its members firmly believe that ambitious climate and environmental policies can improve living standards and deliver significant economic benefits in terms of innovation, investment in new supply chains and job creation across the country. Prof Shuckburgh’s expertise will help us ensure that our policy work continues to be grounded in the latest evidence and is in line with the speed and scale of action demanded by science.”

Dame Fiona Woolf DBE, former Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It has been a wonderful opportunity to be the Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group for six years. The Aldersgate Group is unique in understanding the critical role that ambitious businesses across the economy want and need to play to tackle climate change and I am proud to have been able to strengthen these relationships. I would like to wish Prof Emily Shuckburgh every success as she joins the Aldersgate Group at a critical time for the climate and environmental agenda.”

[1] Dame Fiona Woolf DBE was Honorary President of the Aldersgate Group from April 2015 to July 2021.

[2] More information on Cambridge Zero can be found here.

[3] A fuller biography for Prof Emily Shuckburgh OBE can be found here.

[4] In October 2021, the Aldersgate Group published a Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker, outlining the key next steps in terms of policy to put all sectors of the economy on track for net zero emissions and maximise supply chain growth and job creation in the process. The report is available here.


Net zero transition is essential to delivering the Levelling Up agenda

2nd February 2022

Reacting to the upcoming publication of the UK Government's Levelling Up White Paper, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The Government’s 12 missions to level up the UK set a welcome ambition to spread economic opportunities, high quality education and a good quality of life across the country. A rapid transition to a net zero emissions economy is going to be absolutely essential to deliver these goals in practice. Growing investment in renewable energy [1], building insulation [2], electric vehicles [3], public transport and low carbon industrial clusters [4] hold the key to creating jobs, improving productivity, driving private investment and skilling up the workforce across the country. If the Government is serious about its Levelling Up ambitions, it must proceed at pace with the implementation of its Net Zero Strategy [5].”  

FOOTNOTES

[1] It is estimated that the offshore wind sector will see jobs increasing from 26,000 currently to 70,000 by 2026, with jobs created in areas such as the Solent, the Humber and Scotland - Offshore Wind Industry Council [OWIC] (2021), Offshore Wind Skills Intelligence Model Report 
 
[2] According to the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), improving the building fabric energy efficiency of every building in the country in need of retrofit will require 12,000 workers to be trained every year for about the next four years, before the need to ramp up annual recruitment by up to 30,000 workers between years 2025 and 2030. This implies an increased trained workforce of up to 230,000 by the end of the decade - Construction Industry Training Board [CITB] (2021), Building skills for net zero 

[3] It is estimated that the UK could produce around 1.6 million EVs per year by 2040 and establish seven gigafactories in national territory. These gigafactories could create up to 78,000 new jobs (both direct and in the supply chain), with 24,500 in battery manufacturing, 43,500 in the battery supply chain, and around 10,000 in EV manufacturing – Faraday report – March 2020 update. Annual gigafactory study: UK electric vehicle and battery production potential to 2040
 
[4] Low carbon industrial clusters that could support the productions of low carbon industrial products such as steel, glass and chemicals could be developed in a wide range of locations such as South Wales, Merseyside, Teesside, the Humber and the Southampton area - Aldersgate Group (2021), Accelerating the Decarbonisation of Industrial Clusters and Dispersed Sites
 

[5] Aldersgate Group (2021), Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker: Key Announcements and Next Steps

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Reactive comment on floating offshore wind innovation funding announcement

25th January 2022

Reacting to the UK Government's £31m floating offshore wind innovation funding announcement, Nick Molho, Executive Director at the Aldersgate Group, said: “Following on from the significant amount of offshore wind projects selected at the ScotWind Leasing round last week [1], today’s announcement is a reminder of how long-term targets and stable policy support can accelerate innovation across the renewables industry. Building on the jobs already created by the offshore wind sector in areas such as Hull, the Solent and Scotland, the geographic spread of the projects receiving innovation funding today highlights that the renewables sector – and low carbon industries more broadly – can drive investment and job creation in multiple parts of the country and be a key part of the levelling up agenda.”

[1] Crown Estate Scotland, ScotWind offshore wind leasing delivers major boost to Scotland’s net zero aspirations

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Reactive comment on the UK's Third Climate Change Risk Assessment

17th January 2022

Responding to the publication of the UK’s Third Climate Change Risk Assessment, Signe Norberg, Head of Public Affairs and Communications at the Aldersgate Group, said: “The publication of the UK’s third climate change risk assessment is a clear reminder that unmitigated climate change comes with significant costs to the UK economy. The report rightly emphasises the need for urgent and co-ordinated action to both reduce emissions and adapt the UK’s economy and infrastructure to the levels of climate change we are already locked into. In practice, this means that the Government’s work on implementing the Net Zero Strategy, enacting long-term nature improvement targets under the Environment Act, and creating the next National Adaptation Plan all need to be carried out at pace and in a joined-up way.
 
Investing in a healthier natural environment is key to making the UK more resilient to the impacts of climate change and it will be critical that the Government puts forward ambitious and credible targets under the Environment Act as well as a new and comprehensive Environmental Improvement Plan later this year. The UK must also continue its efforts to deliver rapid emission reductions across the economy and beyond just the power sector. As set out in the Aldersgate Group’s Net Zero Strategy Policy Tracker, key policy gaps remain in crucial areas, such as energy efficiency, agriculture and land use, and skills. [1]
 
The Government is right to want to increase awareness of climate risk at the local level in future assessments but this ambition must be paired with further financial and policy support for local authorities, so they can play a significant role in tackling climate change.”
 
[1] The Aldersgate Group published its assessment of the UK’s Net Zero Strategy in October 2021. Click here to download the briefing. 

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