Nuclear power critical to delivering UK's net zero emissions goal – CBI

28th June 2019

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Jonathan Fowler

The UK's largest business group has today urged the government to support new nuclear power stations in its mission to deliver net zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

In a letter to business secretary Greg Clark, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also outlined a range of further policies to decarbonise the economy and achieve the 2050 goal.

Progressing large-scale nuclear projects, scaling carbon capture infrastructure, and reforming tax and business rates to encourage green energy are among the suggestions.

A clear mix of incentives for consumers and firms to buy electric vehicles are also recommended, along with comprehensive infrastructure across the country to meet future demand.

Moreover, the CBI said that hosting the COP 26 climate summit in 2020 would be an opportunity for the UK to showcase its leadership in climate action and green technology to the world.

“Firms want to see whole host of stable, long-term policies enacted that send markets a robust signal: the UK is open for green business and is a world leader in tackling climate change,“ chief economist, Rain Newton-Smith, said.

The CBI urged ministers to provide clarity in an imminent Energy White Paper.

This comes after the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned last month that a steep decline in nuclear power would have major implications in achieving global climate targets.

The industry faces an uncertain future as developed nations phase out old plants, and there are various safety, security, environmental and economic arguments against nuclear power.

The IEA estimates that advanced economies could lose 25% of their nuclear capacity by 2025, and up to 66% by 2040 without policy changes.

However, this could result in four billion tonnes of additional carbon emissions unless deployment of other low-carbon power sources accelerates to an unprecedented scale.

“Without an important contribution from nuclear power, the global energy transition will be that much harder,“ said IEA's executive director, Dr Fatih Birol.

“Alongside renewables, energy efficiency and other innovative technologies, nuclear can make a significant contribution to achieving sustainable energy goals and enhancing energy security.“

Image credit: iStock


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