Energy Intensive Users Group Press Release: UK Net Zero Carbon Target
Commenting on the announcement of the UK’s new net zero carbon target, the Chairman of the Energy Intensive Users Group, Stephen Elliott, said:
“Industry cautiously welcomes the Government’s setting of a new net-zero-carbon target for the UK. This clear-sighted objective for 2050, should help galvanise action from other countries and, we hope, deliver the long term policy interventions that industry in this country needs in order to decarbonise competitively. Critically, the target includes provision for a five year temperature check of other countries actions and ambitions in this regard. UK industry needs to know we are not acting alone. To do so would be a well-intentioned but unfortunately futile act, further undermining the competitiveness of UK industry.
“Crucially, we should all be clear on the magnitude of the task here. The Committee on Climate Change’s analysis of the road to a net-zero carbon UK lays out clearly the major challenges facing industry in decarbonising in the years ahead. At an estimated abatement cost of £100 per tonne of CO2, and currently no ability to pass this on in sales of our products, it is clear the costs of decarbonisation cannot be shouldered by the industry alone while remaining internationally competitive.
“UK industry is already operating at a major competitive disadvantage, with the Government’s own data showing UK industrial electricity prices as the highest in Europe. Simply adding to this burden is not a realistic option. Step change decarbonisation in industry will require clear sighted policy interventions from the Government to ensure we actively reduce our industrial emissions here in the UK and not simply export them overseas. The Government needs to ensure industry’s continued international competitiveness and enact policy that will spur innovation and investment in low-carbon technologies.
“This has been our message for years and it is therefore promising to see the Committee on Climate Change’s clear understanding of this in its advice and the need for active government support to enable a just transition for carbon and trade-intensive sectors. Importantly, this will involve the development and deployment of competitively priced technologies such as carbon capture and use/storage and hydrogen in the medium-term along with access to project credits to assist that transition. Energy-intensive industries are already playing their part in the new low carbon economy – supplying vital products that are essential to everyone’s lives through the hard work of over 200,000 workers across the country – Government must join us in this huge challenge, becoming a closer and more supportive partner in the years ahead.”
The Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG) represents the UK’s energy intensive industries (EIIs) including manufacturers of steel, chemicals, fertilisers, paper, cement, lime, ceramics, gypsum, glass, aluminium and industrial gases that compete in global markets and depend on access to secure, internationally competitive energy supplies to remain in business. These foundation industries employ 200,000 people directly, support 800,000 jobs in their supply chains, and make a £15bn pa contribution to UK GDP.