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Energy companies join call for stronger carbon pricing ahead of Brexit

Image: Getty.

Image: Getty.

Companies from business, finance, academic and civil society have called on the UK government to commit to stronger and more consistent carbon pricing.

In a declaration signed by 50 companies earlier this week, the Zero Carbon Campaign called for carbon pricing in the UK's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) announcement, encouragement for all jurisdictions to include new or strengthened carbon pricing commitments and work to secure a global agreement on carbon pricing.

The letter was signed by a number of companies from the energy sector, including Drax, The Electricity Storage Network, OVO Energy and Regen.

Hannah Dillon, head of the Zero Carbon Campaign, said that we are all already “paying the price” for not effectively curbing greenhouse gas emissions to date.

“The longer we wait to put a proper price on pollution, the worse the cumulative effects of climate change will become, and the more expensive it will be for us to address them. The UK is uniquely placed to lead an ambitious international agenda on carbon pricing, but our leadership is only as strong as the example we set at home.

“We hope that the range and caliber of signatories to this declaration will encourage our government to take this call for ambition incredibly seriously.”

The declaration was delivered to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and COP26 President Alok Sharma ahead of the international climate summit on 12 December.

With just five weeks till the end of the Brexit transition period, the pressure for the UK government to confirm the carbon pricing system that the country will adopt on leaving the Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) on 31 December is mounting. In June, the government outlined initial details in The future of UK carbon pricing.

Within this, the government stated it was "open to considering" a link with EU ETS, and that further details around this would be released following the publication of the Sixth Carbon Budget by the Committee on Climate Change, due out in December 2020.

The Zero Carbon Campaign released further suggestions to ensure carbon pricing is strengthened to enable a green recovery from COVID-19 earlier this year, including setting a clear carbon price across the economy that would increase incrementally to reach a minimum of £75/tCO2e by 2030.

John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace – another signatory of the declaration – added that the Prime Minister had shown he is ready to kickstart the nation’s green industrial revolution, “but he needs to go further".

“Accounting for the true cost of pollution for both people and planet is an immediate step the UK can take to show how serious we are about ending our reliance on toxic fossil fuels. Fair and effective carbon pricing could also reward people and businesses for making cleaner, greener choices as part of a just transition.”

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