New Committee on Climate Change report criticises the UK's climate change action

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has today released their annual progress report, Progress in Preparing for Climate Change - 2019 Progress Report to Parliament.

The report addresses the UK’s current progress on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the policies generating this reduction, and the UK’s adaption to climate change.

The CCC suggests that the UK is not on track for its recent net zero GHG emissions target by 2050. Indeed, more damningly, the CCC argue the UK is not on track to meet its past, less ambitious, target of an 80% reduction in GHGs by the same date.

Read the CCC’s full report here, and coverage from the BBC here.

Net zero greenhouse gas emissions target law begins passage through Parliament

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Yesterday, the draft law to create a net zero emissions target for the UK by 2050 was put to Parliament by Chris Skidmore MP, who is currently a joint Minister of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department of Education.

The draft law proposes updating the existing greenhouse gas emissions reduction target set by the Climate Change Act 2008 of an 80% reduction by 2050 to 100% by the same year.

Such action follows Theresa May’s announcement of the net zero target earlier this month before her departure from office. This follows the Committee on Climate Change’s influential Net Zero report, arguing for the adoption of a legal net zero emissions goal by 2050 at the very latest - as Bright Blue has previously campaigned for.

Read more about the proposed law currently making its way through parliament here, the CCC’s Net Zero report here, and Bright Blue’s response to the CCC’s report here.

National grid and the energy sector react to Labour's plans to renationalise the energy network, saying it will hamper moves towards green energy

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There have been widespread reactions today to the Labour Party’s plans for the energy sector if elected.

The reactions focus on two aspects of Labour’s announcements: to renationalise the energy network, and install one million solar panels on low-income households.

Here is an excerpt from National Grid’s reaction:

“Proposals for state ownership of the energy networks would only serve to delay the huge amount of progress and investment that is already helping to make this country a leader in the move to green energy”

Read more on the story as covered by Carbon Brief here.

Bright Blue submits letter to The Times: 'Green-edged Tories'

Bright Blue’s Director, Ryan Shorthouse, submitted a letter to The Times this week. In it, Ryan draws on past Bright Blue research to point out there is a political mandate for the Government to adopt the Committee on Climate Change’s recent advice to the Government for a legal, net zero emissions target to be reached 2050 at the ver latest, and that market economies are the path to deeper decarbonisation.

Ryan’s submission to The Times is below:

“Sir, There are vocal sceptics of man-made climate change within the Conservative movement (“Climate divides Tories just as much as Brexit”, Rachel Sylvester, May 14), but research by Bright Blue indicates that a clear majority of Conservative Party voters, of all ages, believe that humans are causing climate change and are concerned about its impact.

Our research also shows that climate change is the No 1 issue that adults aged 28 and under want politicians to say and do more about. As Rachel Sylvester rightly suggests, reducing the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (to net-zero by 2050 at the very latest, as recently recommended by the independent Committee for Climate Change) is an environmental and political necessity for any centre-right government. But the centre-right also needs to argue loudly that it is in fact market economies that have best supported — and will, in the future, best support — deeper decarbonisation.”

Read the letter published in The Times here, and Bright Blue’s polling work on voters’ attitudes to climate change and the UK’s climate leadership here.

Bright Blue polling influential in The Committee on Climate Change’s recent net zero report

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The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recently published their much anticipated report, Net zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping climate change, on the feasibility of the UK adopting a legal, net zero greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) target to be met by 2050.

The report draws on Bright Blue polling conducted last year to make the case of there being public support for a legal, net zero GHG target. In particular, our polling shows that 75% of UK adults are fairly or very concerned about climate change, and 64% favour the UK aiming to reduce GHG emissions to net zero in the next few decades.

The CCC’s report similarly cited another piece of Bright Blue’s polling work, that found climate change was the top issue that 18 - 25 year olds wanted senior politicians to address.

Read the CCC’s report here, and Bright Blue’s polling work on net zero and concern about climate change here.

Bright Blue's submission of written evidence published in the International Development Committee's inquiry into UK aid and climate change

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The International Development Committee launched an inquiry into UK aid and climate change in July of last year. The final report was published today.

Bright Blue contributed to the report through a written evidence submission. Our policy recommendations were based on our policy paper, Saving Global Nature: greening UK Official Development Assistance. Amongst the recommendations, we called for at least £1 billion of the Overseas Development Assistance budget to be spent on global nature conservation annually.

Read the International Development Committee’s report here, and Bright Blue’s written evidence submission here.

Theresa May should adopt a net zero target before she departs Number 10, says Bright Blue

Bright Blue was recently quoted in The Independent, commenting on Theresa May’s reluctance to adopt a net zero emissions target by 2050 following the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s influential report on the feasibility of a net zero greenhouse has target.

“And Bright Blue, a liberal Conservative think tank, urged Ms May to “do something uncharacteristically bold” by making the legal commitment before she quits No 10”

Read the article in The Independent here.

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Industry responds to the Government's consultations on packaging waste

Bright Blue’s Researcher, William Nicolle, was recently quoted in an article covering industry responses to the Government’s packaging consultations.

“Calling people citizens rather than consumers is an important point because you need to engage them. Com­municating this is important – not just changing the word but putting the word ‘citizen’ in front of people in a way where they have to be engaged – this is an area for further research.”

Read the article in MRW here.

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Low carbon gas obligation featured in the Treasury's 2019 Spring Statement

Bright Blue’s latest report, Pressure in the pipeline, has had it’s policy recommendation of obligating suppliers to inject lower carbon gas into the grid adopted in the latest Spring Statement, as covered by Ends Report.

Ryan Shorthouse, Bright Blue’s Director and co-author of the report, was featured in the article as welcoming the new low-carbon gas obligation, which should be introduced by Ofgem from April 2021.

Read the article in Ends Report here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

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Green economy reacts to the latest Spring Statement

Bright Blue’s latest report on decarbonising the UK’s gas networks, entitled Pressure in the pipeline, has had one of it’s policy recommendations adopted in the recent Spring Statement, as covered by Edie.

Bright Blue’s Director and co-author of the report, Ryan Shorthouse, said:

“The Government has rightly adopted Bright Blue’s policy of introducing an obligation on gas suppliers to ensure a certain proportion of green gas is in the grid. The detail is to come, but a new low carbon gas obligation on gas suppliers should be introduced by Ofgem in the next price control framework from April 2021."

Read the article in Edie here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

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Gas grid decarbonisation needed, report argues

Bright Blue’s latest report on decarbonising the UK’s gas networks featured in an article by Network.

The report, entitled Pressure in the pipeline, argues that deeper decarbonisation of UK gas is essential if the country is to meet its current and likely future emissions reduction target. The report assesses how to decarbonise gas in the UK by increasing the supply of low carbon gases and by reducing demand for gas in the heat sector. It calls for new government investment and incentives for decarbonisation to be an urgent priority in Ofgem's next price control framework for gas from April 2021.

Read the coverage in Network here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

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Gas must be ‘completely’ decarbonised by 2050, says UK think-tank

Bright Blue’s latest report on decarbonising the UK’s gas networks, entitled Pressure in the pipeline, has been covered by Euractiv.

The report says demand for natural gas in the heat sector must diminish, and calls for government incentives to boost the supply of low-carbon gases.

With the right incentives, the government can eventually end the UK’s dependency on natural gas.

Read the coverage in Euractiv here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

UK gas ‘must completely decarbonize’ to hit climate goals

Bright Blue’s latest report, Pressure in the pipeline, was covered in an article by Power Engineering International.

Wilf Lytton, Bright Blue senior researcher and co-author of the report, said:

“The UK gas must be completely decarbonised during the coming three decades if this country is to meet its current and likely future legal emissions reduction target.”

Read the article in Power Engineering International here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

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Think tank calls for low carbon gas obligation

Bright Blue’s latest report, Pressure in the pipeline, was featured in theenergist.

The report calls for the Government and Ofgem to implement a low carbon gas obligation.

Commenting on the research, Wilf Lytton, Senior Researcher at Bright Blue said,

“Ofgem should introduce a new low-carbon gas obligation. This will enable the UK to decarbonise the gas network at the lowest possible cost, without distorting the market and removing the need to subsidise alternatives to natural gas.”

Read the article in theenergist here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

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'Urgent priority': Major rethink required to spur green gas investment

Bright Blue’s latest report on decarbonising the UK’s gas networks, entitled Pressure in the pipeline, has been covered by an article in BusinessGreen.

The report calls for the Government to encourage gas network decarbonisation as an urgent priority.

It makes the case for a new 'low carbon gas obligation' on gas suppliers with a requirement to deliver a steadily increasing proportion of biomethane, bioSNG, and hydrogen to the gas network.

Read the coverage in BusinessGreen here.

Read Bright Blue’s report, Pressure in the pipeline here.

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Now the strategy is out, the real work begins...

Bright Blue’s Wilf Lytton was quoted in an MRW article on the Government’s 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy for England.

Wilf Lytton, Senior Researcher at Bright Blue, said:

““Is the plastic produced with 30% recycled material itself recyclable? Otherwise you are not achieving a great deal and could produce a more damag­ing product,”

“And how do you ensure compliance of plastics pro­duced overseas and sold into the UK? It’s pretty hard to get right.”

Read the full article here.

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Seven business takeaways from the new Clean Air Strategy

Bright Blue was quoted in a BusinessGreen article on the Government’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy.

Bright Blue’s Director, Ryan Shorthouse, said:

“The UK government needs to urgently establish a network of clean air zones across the country by enabling all local councils to introduce them where illegal levels of air pollution are occurring"

“And the UK government should change legislation to enable local authorities to strive for reasonable profits from the administration of their clean air zones. This could yield revenue for local authorities to take further measures to make local transport cleaner, such as the introduction of local diesel scrappage schemes and more charging points for electric vehicles."

Read the full article here.

Read Bright Blue’s response to the Clean Air Strategy 2019.

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Government Launches Clean Air Strategy But Does It Go Far Enough?

Bright Blue’s Director, Ryan Shorthouse was quoted in an article on the Government’s recently launched Clean Air Strategy, published in Human Rights News.

He described the strategy as being ‘inadequate’ and called on the government to allow local councils to introduce a network of clean air zones.

Read the full article here.

Read Bright Blue’s response to the Clean Air Strategy 2019.

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Ten years of the Climate Change Act. We need a new target to get net emissions down to zero.

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Bright Blue’s Wilf Lytton wrote an article for Conservative Home on the ten year anniversary of the 2008 Climate Change Act.

In it, he explains how decarbonising our economy during the last decade has led to both environmental and economic benefits, including the development of cheaper and cleaner energy supply and the growth of jobs in the green economy. The article also looks ahead at what the latest evidence around climate change means for the UK’s emissions targets.

Read the article here.