MPs launch inquiry into climate assembly report

Darren Jones MP, chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy select committee, 10 September 2020. Photo: Parliament TV

MPs have promised to monitor how quickly the government implements recommendations of the UK’s citizens’ assembly on climate change.

The findings of the assembly, published this morning, included support for wind and solar power, investment in low carbon buses and trains, bans on gas boilers and polluting cars and taxes on long-distant and frequent fliers.

Darren Jones, the chair of the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) select committee, told parliament:

“we will launch an overarching inquiry into the findings of the assembly in order to review, on a regular basis, the Government’s engagement and interaction with the findings of the assembly and progress in implementing its proposals.

“We will do this by monitoring progress in relation to this important piece of work and working in close collaboration with the other Committees that commissioned the climate assembly.”

The BEIS committee was one of six parliamentary committees that commissioned the work of the climate assembly. The 108 assembly members, who were representative of the UK population, were asked to develop policies to enable the UK to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Mr Jones described today’s report as “ground-breaking” and said his committee would “mainstream the assembly’s work”.

“We will undertake detailed scrutiny of its proposals within the context of other existing and future inquiries.”

He said one inquiry would focus directly on some of the assembly’s energy recommendations

One key issue in the report was a lack of support by assembly members for the capture and storage of carbon from fossil fuels. This process is backed by the Committee on Climate Change and is current government policy.

Mr Jones said:

“We quickly need to understand the capacity of carbon capture and storage for scaling up and meeting needs, but we should also recognise that we must prioritise an urgent speed-up in the use of clean renewable technologies, and in my view carbon capture and storage is only a temporary solution.”

5 replies »

  1. Did the assembly report findings, or recommendations or policies (they were asked to develop policies, not to find anything.

    But I guess they found out what those on the committee were thinking and this now has to go to government to consider before it morphs into a policy for any particular party to promote?

  2. It is certainly informative & valuable to take a representative sample of the UK population & ask them about their views on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report is very long & I still have to read it. I will. Up to now the public have favoured solar pv. I will be interested to see if that is reflected in the report. Solar PV in the UK has a very poor delivered capacity – about 10% of installed. This has been stubbornly the case for many years, despite many claims of improved efficiency. There is no legislation that solar pv is optimised by correct installation & maintenance, despite taxpayer subsidies. Anyway this programme is quite a good summary about solar PV – but please note many of the references are to California – which has the latitude of N Africa, not Britain. No amount of optimism about solar PV can overcome the physical restraints of the UK’s northerly latitude & cloudiness. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csy1qj

    • I lament reading Dr Nick Riley MBE, C.Geol.,FGS’s statements about solar PV. I am curious to what data he is referring as I know that all of the energy cooperatives in the country are obtaining must better capacity than the 10% you mention. In fact they receive 100% and often more because of the conservative estimates established the the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme. Do please support your statements with facts.

      • Kayla Ente

        While we await a suitable response from Dr Nick – are you sure you are talking about the same metrics?

        Dr Nick talks of poor delivered capacity – about 10% of installed.

        I have solar panels, but they an never achieve 100% of their installed capacity as the sun does not shine at night (et al)

        Then there are dull days, and they get dirty. If I lived in California with the same solar cells i would get more power, if i lived in wick, less.

        Hence we have to install lots more PV to get power than in California say.

        That is what I took from Dr Nicks comments.

        So I await the response with interest, as my PV cells can never achieve 100% installed capacity but they can exceed my expected power generation. If I set my expectations very low.?

        As the extract below (centre for alternative technology webpage notes below)

        3.5 KW array – expect 3000KWH year

        Installed capacity 3.5x24x365 = 306660KWH installed capacity

        Expect 3000KWH

        As good as just under 10%?

        How much electricity could I generate?
        The ‘rated output’ or ‘rated capacity’ is a key figure to use when you compare PV systems. This is the peak power in kilowatts (kWp or just kW) that a PV array gives in bright summer sunshine. Domestic PV systems are commonly between 3 and 4 kilowatts, taking up 20 to 30 square metres of roof.

        Of course it’s not sunny all the time, and the output of PV solar panels will drop a little under cloud or on winter days, when the sun is weaker. In average UK weather conditions, you can expect one kilowatt of panels to generate between 700 and 900 units (kilowatt-hours, kWh) of electricity per year. So a 3.5kW south-facing domestic system will produce about 3,000kWh per year. Where you live will be a factor – for example Cornwall receives 30% more solar energy than northern Scotland.

  3. Nick:

    This conflict with UK solar has always been there, for those who want to see. Without serious climate change UK solar is the wrong solution in the wrong place. For those who want to market UK solar a different situation.

    I have looked at solar from my own situation and have concluded it is way down my list of priorities in terms of household energy provision or investment. Others in my area who have been persuaded to proceed are all disappointed. Window cleaners are quite happy, however, with those investors desperately trying to get some output from their installations!

    My local solar farm was built upon good agricultural land, by a construction gang brought over from Poland. Subsequently, that change of use has been exploited by building companies who have claimed the same can apply to them and are now constructing housing estates upon the neighbouring agricultural land.

    Air sourced heat pumps I have gone for, and that is a good solution, certainly for supplementary heating. However, I have a property some distance away from neighbours and would have serious doubts about the efficiency of such units on a dense housing estate. There is only so much heat that can be extracted on a frosty day within dense housing. Maths. and physics again.

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