Whitehall ambition to create world's first zero-carbon heavy industry cluster

The UK government has announced an ambition to create the world's first “net-zero carbon” hub of heavy industry by 2040.

The government is seeking industry partners to help raise up to £170m of funding to create clusters of heavy industry in sectors such as steel, ceramics, cement, chemicals, paper and glass.

At the COP24 climate change talks in Poland, energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said the government is planning for at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030 using technology around carbon capture and storage.

Currently, industry accounts for around 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, with more than two-thirds of these industrial emissions coming from energy intensive industries that are often located next to each other in clusters.

Perry said: “Demonstrating climate action and growing the economy go hand in hand is key to building momentum behind global action on carbon. The UK is a leader in both, cutting our emissions by more than 40% while growing our economy by two thirds, but to sustain this track record we need to tackle emissions from energy intensive sectors and bring clean growth to our great industrial centres.

“That’s why I’m launching a mission to create the world’s first ‘net-zero’ carbon cluster by 2040 in the UK with up to £170m of new government funding. This will help to develop the technologies of the future to transform industry around the world, ensuring the UK seizes the global economic opportunities of moving to greener, cleaner industry – a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy.”

The UK has also committed £20m to the World Bank programme in support of developing countries eradicating coal power and finding clean, renewable solutions. The Utilities Taskforce has been established to advocate the growing UK Canada-led Powering Past Coal Alliance (PPCA), which works with electrical supply investors to encourage decisions “to commit funds into the thriving clean energy market instead of investing in coal projects”, said the government.

Last month Perry announced the production plans of the first UK carbon capture project to start mid-2020s at a global summit in Edinburgh.

COP24 refers to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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