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Image text: "Net Zero and 2050 Climate Change Reduction Target".

CCC Net Zero & 2050 Climate Change Reduction is Too Late!

The CCC Net Zero Reporting update of 2022 is a major step towards the 2050 Climate Change Reduction Target. It is important to have anaerobic digestion as a part of the national effort in order to achieve the required level of GHG reduction. But, the target is too slow and unlikely even if achieved to keep the global temperature rise within a tolerable 1.5°.

The CCC Net Zero Reporting update sets out the government's long-term goal for the UK's net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a framework for action on how we will get there.

It is a plan to reduce GHG emissions by at least 80% below 2005 levels by 2050. Trade Association ADBA supports the view that an anaerobic digester can be used as a way to generate renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas (GHGs) by converting organic waste into biogas and compost.

Anaerobic digestion is a process that occurs in nature as well as when it’s done artificially, where organic matter or waste breaks down without oxygen present and produces biogas which can be used to generate electricity, heat or even produce fertilizer.

A substantial contributor to methane emissions is landfill. Thankfully the UK has always required the installation of landfill gas collection systems on new landfills since about 1990, so there is no great pressure in the UK to reduce landfill gas emissions of methane.

But, on current performance, it won't be achieved, and even if it was it may be too late to stop runaway warming.

But, meanwhile, there is an escape route… Read on to find out more:

The Expansion of UK Green Gas Production from AD is an “Escape Route”

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is causing a crisis in the food supply and is making the already existing energy crisis much worse, which in turn causes crises in the CO2 and fertiliser markets.

The effects of this situation are now being felt by consumers, who are bearing the brunt of rising prices and dwindling supplies.

The process of anaerobic digestion offers one potential escape route. The expansion of homegrown green gas production, with the cooperation of the government, would produce Net Zero while simultaneously enhancing the nation's energy security.

It is possible to substitute carbon-intensive mineral fertilisers with digestate and other sustainable mineral fertilisers derived from AD. This would enable reliable supply as well as soil repair.

In addition, growing the AD and bioresources industries is a tremendous commercial potential that, if taken advantage of, would result in the creation of 60,000 new employment throughout the UK.

The United Kingdom's participation in the Global Methane Pledge presents yet another excellent opportunity.

The Pledge makes it possible for our industry to demonstrate, through the use of industry standards, the significance of recycling organic wastes that, if not recycled, would otherwise emit methane. When operating at its full capacity, AD is capable of delivering more than 20 percent of the UK's commitment to the Pledge.

Both the demand for AD and its production, as well as its byproducts, are continuing to show rapid growth.

It is a good time to invest in biomethane certificates and RTFCs because gas and fertiliser costs have reached all-time highs, there is a growing demand for bio-CO2, and prices have increased for all of these products.

Image text: "Net Zero and 2050 Climate Change Reduction Target".

CCC Net Zero Report by 2050 – ADBA Support's GHG Carbon Emission Reductions

PR Released in May 2019:

In the “CCC Net Zero Report” back in 2019, the IPCC said that global greenhouse gas emissions need to reach “net zero” around 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change around the globe.

Cartoon of a biogas plant and a man with a speech bubble saying that developing Biogas will deliver Bet Zero.

To achieve the net-zero target tens of billions of pounds will need to be invested in renewable energy, electric vehicles, capturing and storing carbon emissions, and planting trees, according to the CCC.

Currently, the UK has a target of curbing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

What will it Cost?

Costs to reach the 2050 goal will total 1-2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) per year, the same amount estimated for the current target, the report said.

Green leaders have come out in force to praise the Committee on Climate Change's report – and requested immediate action from the government on the issues raised from its findings.

ADBA Press Release:

United Kingdom AD Industry Responds to CCC Net Zero Report

Responding to the publication of the Committee on Climate Change's (CCC's) new report calling for the UK to set a net-zero target for 2050, Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association, said:

“The UK's anaerobic digestion (AD) industry fully supports the Committee on Climate Change's call for net zero emissions by 2050, which is a vital target to ensure we avoid the worst effects of climate change. 

“By converting organic wastes and crops into renewable heat and power, clean transport fuel, and soil-restoring natural fertiliser, AD has already reduced the UK's greenhouse gas emissions by 1% and has the potential to reduce them by as much as 5% if the industry meets its full potential. 

Crucially, AD reduces emissions from hard-to-decarbonise sectors such as heat, transport, and agriculture, as well as from the power sector and from waste. 

“As a technology-ready solution that can tackle climate change right across the economy, it's vital that government recognises and rewards the many benefits of AD so it can make the maximum contribution to decarbonisation at speed and scale. 

“We therefore also support the CCC's call for a new regulatory and support framework for low-carbon heating (where biomethane from AD can make an important contribution) to address the current million-pound funding gap.” 

PR Ends

Reactions Across the Web to the CCC Net Zero Report

There has been a welcome response from numerous groups to the CCC’s report with the top-line call for the immediate enshrining into law of a national net zero by 2050 target to be put forward by the government.

However, the report does also note that some home nations are currently better equipped to deliver more rapid decarbonisation than others.

Scotland, for example, is encouraged by the CCC to target net-zero emissions by 2045– due to a greater potential to depollute its economy compared to the rest of the UK– whereas Wales should target a 95% reduction in emissions by 2050 (from the same 1990 baseline).

General Reactions to the CCC Net Zero Report

Groups of politicians, industry bodies, pressure groups, associations, and consultancies across the sustainability sector have heaped praise on the CCC’s recommendations and presented their own specific areas where they would like the sustainability focus to be developed.

CCC Net Zero Report: Cartoon explains that Biogas Plants can help achieve Net Zero. “We are currently not on target to meet the UK’s fourth and fifth carbon budgets, let alone achieve net zero so the stark reality is that the UK Government has a lot to do to help deliver a better planet for our children.

The UK Government needs to up its game and come forward with the policies, actions, and regulations needed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

“As a Committee, we will over the coming weeks be examining how to implement the 2050 target and holding the UK Government to account for its response to this challenge”.

“It shows that we need a clear suite of policies to help us to reach this goal, from bringing back onshore wind to supporting new technologies like carbon capture in my constituency.”

“The CCC Net Zero Report committee has spelled out that if we want to maintain our credibility and any leadership on climate then the government can no longer faff around with promises and half measures. It needs to have plausible, deliverable plans. via www.edie.net

Climate Activism

The recommendations come as climate activism is sweeping the globe.

In March, hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren walked out of class to protest their governments' failure to curb emissions.

Last month, Extinction Rebellion activists glued themselves to trains and blocked major landmarks in London to demand climate action.

Extinction Rebellion wants to get arrested to fight climate change. via www.cnn.com

Bold New Climate Change Target

The UK must “set and vigorously pursue” a bold new climate change target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net-zero’ levels by 2050 – replacing the current target of an 80% reduction against 1990 levels – according to a major new report from the Committee on Climate Change. EURACTIV’s media partner edie.net reports.

The CCC Net Zero Report, published today (2 May), comes after the UK Government instructed the CCC to provide advice on the feasibility of a net-zero carbon target – a move the Committee believes could be achieved within the same cost envelope as the current less-ambitious Climate Change Act.

Today the CCC advises the UK should set a Net-Zero emissions target for 2050, including emissions from aviation and shipping.

This stops the UK's contribution to global warming and is achievable at a low cost through UK domestic effort.

It follows months of calls from MPs and businesses alike to enshrine a net-zero target into UK law – a discussion that has been amplified by the recent climate school strikes and Extinction Rebellion protests. www.euractiv.com

CCC Net Zero Report 2050 Target is Not Ambitious Enough?

Even placing accounting issues aside, the CCC Net Zero Report 2050 target is unambitious and gives a false impression that there is time to play with.

Lord Deben, chair of the CCC Net Zero Report committee, is almost certainly right that Extinction Rebellion's demand that the country reaches net zero by 2025 is physically impossible. Shedding the country's attachment to growth does not on its own lead to a neutral carbon ledger.

The massive amounts of investment, innovation, and infrastructure required to get there would not take full effect within six years.

But to say that anything earlier than a 2050 target isn't credible is a grave and dangerous mistake. At current levels of emissions, the world will reach 1.5°C of warming in 12 years.

Each year that the UK delays radical action, the necessary yearly emissions cuts to hit net zero become greater, making it even harder to avoid catastrophic warming.

Even with immediate action on the CCC Net Zero Report, the world would still be pinning hopes on carbon capture and storage technologies that may never work at scale.

[Archive content first published: 2 May 2019.]

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