Government responds to CCC report and commits to new bioenergy strategy

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The UK government has responded to the latest Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report, pledging to publish a “comprehensive Net Zero Strategy” in the lead up to COP26, which will include new bioenergy commitments. 

Published earlier this year, the CCC report’s main conclusion was that there is a sizeable gap in policy between current and required actions and that urgent steps are required to initiate a green, resilient COVID-19 recovery, ahead of the pivotal Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

Responding to the report, the Government has revealed that a national net-zero strategy will be published before the COP26 climate summit in November next year. The Government is confident that this strategy will create “new business opportunities and up to two million green jobs by 2030 across all regions of the UK”.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Alok Sharma and Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth Kwasi Kwarteng noted in the report:

“The strategy will set out the Government’s vision for transitioning to a net-zero economy, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK. These will raise ambition as we outline our path to hit our 2050 target.”

“As we continue to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, we agree wholeheartedly with the CCC on the need to ensure that our recovery plans support our climate change response. By building back greener and better, we can achieve our climate goals, protect our biodiversity and natural capital, and sustain climate-resilient economic development, all in a fair and inclusive way.”

New Bioenergy Strategy

BEIS said biomass has “great potential” and announced it is developing a new cross-government Bioenergy Strategy to explore how biomass should be sourced and used across the economy to best contribute to the UK’s net-zero target.

As part of the refreshed Bioenergy Strategy, the government will incorporate recommendations from the CCC, including the role of carbon capture and storage, UK and international governance over biomass feedstocks, support schemes, including for carbon dioxide removal and sequestration, aviation biofuels and UK production of biomass feedstocks. More details about the Bioenergy Strategy are to be included in the forthcoming Energy White Paper.

Commenting on the news Dr Nina Skorupska CBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) said:

“We note the Government’s response to the CCC’s report and strongly welcome the Government’s new commitment to delivering a revised Bioenergy Strategy for the UK, in line with the recommendation of the Committee on Climate Change and building on the REA’s own industry-led Bioenergy Strategy, published last year.

Bioenergy remains essential to the renewables revolution. Its role is diverse, contributing an immediate and affordable solution to the decarbonisation of heat and transport, while providing dispatchable renewable power that enables energy security. Overall, if done sustainably, bioenergy could meet 16% of primary energy supply by 2032. The UK will not meet net-zero carbon emissions without it.

The REA looks forward to working with officials from across Whitehall to ensure the new strategy enables the UK to realise bioenergy’s full potential as an essential part of the transition to a net-zero energy system.”

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