UK Can Help Solve Climate Crisis Through Innovation, not Decarbonisation- Reuters

In a comment in Reuters, Chris Hocknell, Director of Eight Versa and Natural Carbon Solutions, highlighted Britain’s achievement as the first major economy to halve emissions from 1990 to 2022 while increasing its GDP by 79%.

Hocknell said: “The UK has shifted from an industrial to a services-based economy. In 1990, manufacturing accounted for 21% of Britain’s GDP, but now it’s around 8%, with services making up 80%. This means we’ve de-industrialised rather than decarbonised. The analysis also overlooks the carbon footprint of imported goods, including phones, TVs, cars, garments, and food. With Britain’s increasing trade deficit, this significant footprint cannot be ignored.”

The atmosphere doesn’t care where carbon comes from. Despite producing fewer products, Britain remains strong in innovation. It’s ranked fourth in the Global Innovation Index and is among the few countries with a technology industry worth over $1 trillion.

Britain pioneered the COVID vaccine, showcasing its innovation during crises. Now, its goal is to replicate this success in combating climate change. It requires futuristic technologies to shift away from fossil fuels. This includes developing rare-earth alternatives, advancing fusion, nuclear, and battery tech, as well as renewable materials.

A kite surfer is pictured in front of the Burbo Bank offshore wind farm near New Brighton

Shifting Focus from Emissions to Innovation

Hocknell emphasized in his comment that the UK’s contribution to global emissions is minimal, around 1% or possibly 2% if extraneous emissions are included. Thus, reducing British emissions won’t have a significant impact. Instead, he suggests investing in battery or fusion technology, where the UK can excel. Subsidizing research and science, a strong sector, is wise both environmentally and economically.

Britain has seen significant growth in renewable energy from 2007 to 2022, nearly increasing capacity by tenfold. Despite this progress, renewables only contribute around 40% to electricity generation, which itself makes up just 20% of total energy consumption. As the UK transitions to electric transportation, industry, and heating, its energy demands will substantially rise.

Renewable Energy Growth, Economic Opportunities

Producing renewable energy is an opportunity to benefit economically from the green transition, Britain must manufacture its renewable technologies domestically. Currently, most producers of transmission lines, blades, and solar panels are foreign companies, creating jobs in their own countries.

Offshore wind exemplifies this: Despite Britain’s significant offshore wind capacity, 82.2% is owned by foreign companies, with most equipment and parts imported. As a result, the green transition burdens the government and consumers rather than benefiting the UK economy. Establishing a domestic supply chain could drive the elusive “green growth” envisioned by many but experienced by few.

“Even with domestic supply chains, it’s unlikely our energy needs would be solely met by renewables. Many industrial processes need consistent energy not fully provided by solar or wind. Britain must invest more in nuclear energy to reduce fossil fuel dependency. Nuclear power is costly due to infrastructure construction. Britain has five nuclear plants, supplying about a fifth of its energy.”

However, nuclear, like other industries, requires economies of scale to improve its economics. Take Hinkley Point; it remains the world’s most expensive power plant. Hinkley Point C will end up costing at least 32 billion pounds to build, opens new tab, which in terms of value for money is a terrible deal on every single metric.

The plant is entirely bespoke, with each component custom-built and unique. It’s the epitome of expensive production. If Britain invests in scalable nuclear power, like the small modular reactor programme, costs could decrease significantly. Embracing nuclear power is crucial for a realistic net zero plan.

Hocknell concluded: “We must measure carbon consumption, not just emissions within borders. A practical net zero strategy requires short-term emission investment for long-term abatement.”

Related Topics :

Climate Crisis Grows with Europe Record Numbers of ‘Extreme Heat Stress’ Days in 2023

High Court Rules UK’s New Climate Plan Unlawful-Reuters

Climate Change: Economic Damage 6 Times Worse Than Expected

Saudi Arabia, UK Strengthen Strategic Partnership in Digital Government



Short link :

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button