The recent announcement of the Green Deal Industrial Plan by European Union President Ursula von der Leyen underlines the EU's resolve to support net-zero industries. Green industries are vital in preparing the EU to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. These industries include manufacturing electric vehicles, wind turbines, and solar panels. The Green Deal Industrial Plan proposes subsidizing these industries besides providing incentives, boosting permitting, and reducing red tape. There is a possibility that the EU is considering green industry finance proposals as a measure to counter the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
Why does the UK choose to buy time?
The US is pushing measures to announce green subsidies through its Inflation Reduction Act, which will alienate its Asian and European allies. The recent announcement by the European Union to subsidies its green industry is a response to this concern. However, the US assured the IRA will not impact the UK industries and will soften the $369 million package for promoting clean tech.
The UK does not see any urgency to enter the rat race, as it has already been ahead of most countries by taking a 10-year lead. Besides, the UK will need to raise funds to incentivize and subsidize green industries. Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, feels subsidies are inappropriate in the fight against climate change. Britain will benefit from any subsidy package by the EU because it is not part of the bloc. The US will extend all exemptions it considers for the EU to the UK.
The UK needs to pull up its socks
The Climate Change Committee monitoring the UK government's efforts to fight climate change feels it must plan urgent action to fulfil its promises. Gaps in the crucial areas of agriculture and energy efficiency will probably offset the UK's efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions by setting ambitious targets by leveraging carbon storage technologies and sustainable aviation. The country is battling to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels while struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
Agriculture accounts for over 12 percent of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. The government has a lot more to do to reach its target of reducing CO2 emissions in the agricultural sector by one-third. Most actions and proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are in their infancy, as per the observation by the CCC. The main concern continues to be the lack of energy efficiency in UK homes. The government achieved only seven percent of the target to provide Green Homes Grant to 600,000 homes because of its lacklustre implementation.
Way forward to reach net-zero
Active management of the UK's existing plans is essential to reach a third of its targets for net zero ambitions. Making a few changes at individual levels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. The most notable reason for CO2 emissions is over-reliance on animal proteins such as meat and milk. Production of animal-based proteins releases more greenhouse gas than plant proteins. Adopting alternate sources of proteins will boost health and free up land for higher biodiversity.
The UK government should boost the use of public transport to reduce carbon emissions because of cars. People should prefer walking or cycling to improve personal health and support the environment. Using insulation measures and heat pumps can be a better solution to make UK homes more energy efficient despite the cost-of-living crisis. The UK government needs to be more creative, proactive, and innovative to fight climate change rather than invest in subsidies.
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