The Mission Zero Coalition has detailed in a new report that the UK’s industrial sector needs “long-term planning and certainty” to decarbonise.
Penned by Chris Skidmore MP, the author of the Net Zero Review which was released at the start of this year, the Decarbonise Now: securing a greener, clean, better industrial future report outlines that the industrial sector needs support from the government to transition to cleaner technologies.
It is widely known that the costs associated with decarbonising the industrial sector are high mainly due to the complexity of it all. But despite these high costs, action must be applied now to ensure that this crucial sector can decarbonise ahead of the UK’s 2050 net zero target.
Highlighting the extent of the issue, the report outlines that 8% of business and industry is responsible for 80% of the UK’s gas use. Indeed, with the difficulties in decarbonising this complex sector, action must be undertaken immediately with many decision makers already factoring in low-carbon technologies and a net zero future when planning new industrial sites and expansions.
In order to support the industry on this journey, the report outlines that “we must take a twin track approach to industrial decarbonisation that recognises both what will be needed for investment today as well as to invest in the technologies of today that are needed to ensure those industries and businesses can reduce their emissions now”.
This is a key message featured throughout the report. Echoing the thoughts of many involved in the green energy economy, failure in the UK pressing ahead with the deployment of green industries will see the nation fall behind. This could be costly not only in respect to net zero but also in failing to capitalise on a booming economic opportunity.
On this, the report reads that “again to not act, to stand still, will be to fall behind. This will cost inward investment and ultimately jobs. Instead those jobs will go elsewhere. There is a strategic choice to be made: do we wish to support what is needed to reduce emissions, so that our industries can be world leading and pioneer the low carbon material opportunities of the future, or do we wish for others to lead, and capture the markets of the future”.
A number of technologies are referenced as a means to support this journey. This includes digitalisation and AI technologies, better energy efficiency and heat pump equipment, the deployment of hydrogen and more.
To ensure the industrial sector can contribute to the UK’s decarbonisation journey, barriers and obstacles must be addressed to help the UK hit the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) targets laid out in the Paris Agreement.
The report also details that the work of the industrial taskforce of the energy efficiency taskforce that was recently abolished should be published, or a new industrial decarbonisation taskforce appointed.
As well as this, the authors believe that there should be an Industrial Electrification Strategy as part of the industrial decarbonisation roadmap. This should “recognise that electrification should be a priority for industry, and that almost half of all industrial emissions can be addressed with electrification at scale”.