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Climate Assembly UK have published their final report outlining the steps they believe are necessary for the UK’s economy to transition to a net-zero footing. Here we discuss the parallels with ICE’s own thinking.
In their final report, they conclude that if the UK is to meet the target then government must demonstrate more leadership and facilitate a joined-up approach that permeates through all levels of society.
A focus on informing and educating the public aligns well with previous ICE calls for the development of a net-zero education and awareness-raising campaign specifically for the built environment. A campaign that we think should form a central pillar of a dedicated net-zero plan for the infrastructure sector.
Indeed, if the infrastructure sector is to play its part in the UK’s economy achieving net-zero then a coherent plan of action is required.
We recently published a policy paper setting out four critical policy choices that government must take in the short-term in developing such a plan. Facing up to these now will put the infrastructure sector on the right pathway to reducing emissions and reaching the 2050 target.
In no specific order these policy choices focus on the need for policy action in the following areas:
The future energy mix, including the role of the hydrogen, nuclear, bioenergy and other emerging energy technologies.
Pathways to decarbonising transport, including the electrification of transport networks and shifting to cleaner transport modes.
Pathways for decarbonising heat, including the retrofit of buildings for hydrogen, electrification, energy efficiency and insulation.
Reducing emissions from harder-to-abate sectors, including the deployment of carbon capture and storage and negative emissions technologies.
Today’s report from Climate Assembly UK rightly identifies the need for action in a number of these areas. In particular, it calls for the phasing out of the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles as part of efforts to decarbonise transport, alongside banning the sale of gas boilers and moving towards more sustainable ways of heating our homes.
Continued inertia in these areas is no longer viable if the UK is going to play its role in climate change mitigation.
As the first of its kind it is expected that the NIS will set out the long-term strategic direction for infrastructure provision in the UK, including how the delivery and maintenance of critical networks can be transformed in order that we all have access to the very best infrastructure.
Key to the NIS achieving this outcome is to ensure that it is based on the best available evidence, so that future infrastructure planning and delivery supports the wellbeing and prosperity of communities right across the UK. In this context, the net-zero target represents a golden thread that must run right the way through the NIS.
Be sure to join incoming ICE President Rachel Skinner's inaugural address on 3 November where she will be discussing the importance of carbon emission reduction and the need for urgent actions. Book the event here.
Read ICE’s policy paper A plan for transitioning infrastructure to net zero.