Manufacturing sector to miss net zero targets without Government backing for new technologies
A leading industry think tank has called on the Government to set up a new fund targeting emission reductions in the manufacturing sector, to ensure the UK reaches its net zero ambitions over the next three decades.
In particular, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) has argued for more public funding to go towards ramping up hydrogen and carbon capture, with the country lagging behind European rivals in terms of investment into key environmental technologies.
This means the UK risks being highly reliant on imports for environmental technologies over the long-term, despite Downing Street unveiling a supply security strategy earlier this year to ensure the country’s energy independence amid escalating geopolitical volatility.
It is urging the Government to back an Energy Resilience and Net Zero Manufacturing Fund, with the specific aim of making the country’s energy intensive industries cleaner by investing in the piloting and commercialisation of green technologies.
This follows modelling from MTC – exclusively shared with City A.M. and based on Office for National Statistics data –which reveals British manufacturers will still be releasing more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2050, when UK law requires net zero greenhouse gas emissions.
It forecasts that without any offsetting, the manufacturing sector would not reach zero emissions until 2147, which is 97 years later than demanded.
Despite factory closures during the pandemic, the manufacturing industry still emitted 74,229 tonnes of CO2 in 2020 – in part due to a lack of public investment in cleaner processes.
This is also 61 per cent higher than emissions released by other sectors, such as transport and storage, over the same period.
MTC expects transport and storage to be the first industry to hit zero emissions in 2047, a hundred years earlier than the manufacturing sector.
It suggested the discrepancy highlights the need for government investment in green technologies that can significantly reduce or capture emissions to ensure a more even shift to a net zero future.
MTC chief executive, Dr Clive Hickman OBE, said: “This would transform the UK into a net exporter of goods, which has the triple benefit of boosting the UK’s energy resilience, avoiding the need to import these products from countries with poorer environmental records, and making a significant contribution to GDP in the long term.”