UK risks missing out on net zero opportunities, says CCC

Net zero could create hundreds of thousands of new green jobs – but stronger government support is needed, a briefing said today.

Photo: DrillOrDrop

The Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises ministers, said the UK risked missing out on opportunities to capture low-carbon market shares by not supporting skills that attract investment to the UK.

The CCC said manufacturing priorities, like electric vehicles and battery production, faced competitive pressure from new green subsidies in the United States and European Union.

The UK must defend its competitive advantage in sectors such as hydrogen and carbon capture in the face of these new international pressures, the CCC said.

The target of net zero emissions by 2050 had already created 250,000 jobs, the CCC said. Estimates suggest 135,000-725,000 new low carbon jobs could be created during the transition.

But the CCC said a hands-off approach from the government would not work. The opportunities for new jobs in low carbon sectors would need government support to reskill and upskill the workforce in key areas.

It said options for developing the net zero workforce were not being considered systematically across government and called for “strong, targeted support” in the forthcoming Net Zero and Nature Workforce Action Plan.

Lord Deben, the CCC chairman, said:

“The UK has committed to Net Zero. The only question is whether the Government intends to get there in a way that benefits workers or leaves them behind.

“This is a unique moment to tailor our approach to skills and jobs, in the certainty of achieving the legal goal. A Net Zero workforce means secure employment for the future. This is an opportunity for the Government to bring real meaning to ‘levelling up’.”

The CCC said most UK workers would see no major impacts from the transition to net zero. The largest changes were likely in sectors with a core role in delivering net zero – about a fifth of the current total workforce, it said.

Two-thirds of core workers are in sectors that could grow over the transition., the CCC said, particularly in construction and retrofitting buildings and battery manufacturing.

Around 7% of UK workers are in sectors that would gradually redirect their products and services. These are largely sectors, such as cement and steel, that will transition from use of fossil fuels to low-carbon methods.

Less than 1% of UK workers are in high-emitting sectors that are likely to phase down over the transition, the CCC said. This includes oil and gas, where extraction must decline.

The CCC said the UK labour market had seen significant transitions in the past, including the move towards a largely service-based economy and the earlier decline of coal and steel in the 1970s and 1980s.

Net Zero need not carry the same risks, the CCC said.

Decarbonisation would reduce demand for certain goods and services, but the few sectors where there would be job losses would see a pace of change more gradual than the coal and steel transitions of the past, the CCC said. Clarity on Government’s aims would give businesses and workers time to respond, it said.

13 replies »

  1. Hmmm.

    “Net Zero need not carry the same risks.”

    Try telling that to those made redundant at BritishVolt.

    Indeed, it need not if the tax payer keeps on having to cough up to support the costs. Costs like £6k (?????) to convert to a heat pump system and on inspection, the householder finds it would really cost £20k plus. Will the householder get £20k plus “donated” by another householder? Costs like £200B for new nuclear-have CCC solved the issue of cost of generating electricity from nuclear or disposing of the waste? Yes, they have, it is called the tax payer.

    The new green subsidies, especially in USA, are them catching up to what the UK has already done. (Although achieving agreement over the debt ceiling might adjust that catching up!) They are not an excuse for far more in UK, except for organizations that have a vested interest.

    • This time I agree with you, Mr Collyer. The economics of “net zero” simply do not stack up, and will never stack up in a politically and geographically divided Europe. In the global market for oil the trade in oil, gas and petrochemicals will continue and our multinational companies will continue to find profitable markets while we freeze in winter and worry about running out of charge in EVs – “range anxiety”. The main purpose of EVs is NOT transport. It is (1) to store charge and (2) act as a buffer for fluctuating renewable production in the National Grid. Of course no Gov is ever going to discuss this honestly with the UK electorate.

    • MARTIN ,

      I’ve asked you many times before , but failed to give an answer.

      You right here , show the readers proof that this £200 bn cost for nuclear energy exists and more importantly SHOW EVIDENCE that the British Taxpayer will pick up the tab ..

      If this so called £200 bn is from private investment , then your argument is irrelevant

      EITHER WAY , if we continue to do nothing, this £200 bn will be PEANUTS compared to the cost of Climate Change damage to the United Kingdoms GDP

      JUST take a look at the chart you can change the years from today up to 2100

      Don’t you care about future of out Children/ Grandchildren ???????

  2. Jack, UK is streets ahead of the rest of the world in respect of progress to Net Zero, yet you are trying to say it is not making a difference to Climate Change!

    Well, Jack, those of us who have bothered to look at the situation were already aware of that. I think the proposition now is that UK should carry on and spend many more £billions it doesn’t have, to show the rest of the world what should be done whilst achieving a high tax economy that still can’t pay for other things . A new form of colonial thinking, but doomed to failure as China, Russia and India will also be showing the world what should be done, and how to avoid a high tax economy and may be able to pay for other things.

    Years gone by, Jack, UK had the position that it could impose such. Now it is suggested that UK will persuade. No evidence for that. Even the new nuclear will be imported!

    You can carry on with attempts to deny the cost of new nuclear to try and sweeten the deal, but it is part of the deal and then you have to produce an average, so cheap goes out of the window. Your motives are too obvious Jack.
    Actually, I don’t mind new nuclear. It is required and has been obvious for many years. Just a shame the politicians and the Greenies tried some more denial.

    Children and grandchildren? Well, I know the Group Think is required, but my children and grandchildren will make their own choices if I have anything to do with it. They all seem fairly capable of doing that, although one would be prone to the siren voices of “influencers” so I remind him of the consequences and then it is up to him.

    [Edited by moderator]

    However, good to “learn” that £200B in UK is peanuts, whilst $300B in USA is Armageddon! What $300T is, I dread to think.

  3. Crack On them, there’s no greener fuel than transitional gas! Cost of Gas per kw/h is substantially cheaper and less intrusive than Renewables, the blight on the environment and landscape!!

  4. Does anyone want to tackle the issue of a dying planet if we don’t achieve net zero? And as a heat pump user and an EV driver, I can categorically confirm the heat pump is efficient, economical, the house is warm as toast in the coldest of winters (without any supplementary heating) and the EV is purely used to transport me comfortably, cleanly and efficiently. And no, I’m not rich either!

    • How many hours of the day is your EV connected to a charging point? Overnight? That is when it is acting as a battery for the entire grid, and, if necessary, can be discharged rather than charged in order to balance the grid.

      • Actually I don’t always charge my EV overnight as it does not make any financial difference as I have an all electric house and to get a cheaper nighttime tariff, the daytime tariff would increase. I have a home charging point so it charges relatively quickly. What I have found is it is cheaper than running petrol or diesel, obviously cleaner and it transports me perfectly from A to B. So much easier to charge at home than deal with toxic fuels at the petrol pump. I have found an EV far better than my previous cars and wish I’d bought one sooner.

        • My point is that by connecting to the grid your battery becomes part of the grid as a potential source of power. The battery can discharge into the Grid as well as charge from it. The Gov has not discussed this but one of the main reasons for encouraging the UK population to buy EV cars is to provide free battery storage to the Grid.
          I didn’t ask about the range which you normally obtain Full charge to Empty. Can you please tell us what it is? 500 miles? That is what I get with my diesel car 1.6L.

          • I certainly can’t connect to the grid at this moment but what is the issue if we did? Would it be free or would we receive remuneration as some do with solar power? Who knows?
            The idea EVs were never intended as a means of transport is absurd. I wouldn’t be travelling in mine now if it wasn’t a means of transport. And my range, proven, actual is around 300 miles. Charge time whilst travelling (fast chargers) is from virtually empty to 100% in under 30 minutes. I would never drive more than 300 miles without a break. I usually break around 150/200 miles including when in my previous cars so that suits me perfectly. And driving fossil fuel powered cars causes air pollution and a significant contributor to climate change. So you may get 500 miles from your tank of diesel but air pollution from traffic harms health, causes premature death and harms the planet.


  5. KatT: I am happy that you are happy. I am happy with my heat pump for supplementary heat, but for my property it would cost at least another £20K to go for a full system-I have been quoted that. No, I’m not rich either, so I won’t be paying £20k to satisfy others happiness. I would rather direct a smaller amount towards my nearest and dearest happiness each month to help them pay their energy bills that have been increased dramatically to satisfy your happiness. Perhaps if I was not having to do that, I would have an odd £20k down the back of my sofa?
    I can increase happiness of others local to me by supporting local production. Shame you are not happy to do the same, but “we” can’t all be identical.

    The UK is tackling Net Zero, KatT. The UK are streets ahead of most of the world. If you want to use the dying planet argument then it would appear the UK’s efforts are not making a difference. Careful, you may be exposing what the true problem is-that your efforts have made you happy but achieved nothing for the world.

    Unfortunately, KatT, such is life. Full of irony also, as I suspect all that potential UK has for CCS thanks to N.Sea geology and fossil fuel extraction, may achieve quite a lot for the world-if it is affordable and some of the rest of the world contribute to that cost.

    • Oh Martin, I knew you couldn’t resist a response.

      The U.K. is on target to miss its statutory carbon reduction targets and the government was penalised by the courts for not having a fit for purpose carbon reduction plan. And how much of the carbon did the U.K. pump into the atmosphere historically? Apparently we are the fifth biggest emitter in the world.

      I’m sure reducing my carbon footprint does make a difference because everything we all do matters and makes a difference in terms of emissions, pollution, landfill etc. I have reduced my use of plastics too and compost as much waste as possible. I purchase more sustainably now as well. And importantly I’m supporting new technologies and doing what I can to embrace essential change.

      I accept some of your points because we all have to do more globally for sure.

      Have a nice bank holiday weekend ☺️

  6. Oops, my best wishes to you for the bank holiday vanished, KatT! I suspect I have a need for a new keyboard.

    Yes, the weather is looking good. Next week climate change will become global warming, and dire warnings of UK water shortages will emerge. Hopefully, before then I shall enjoy watching the red kites enjoying the thermals, not seen in my locality for many years until recently. Perhaps those silent killers, the EVs, are providing more road kill for them to scavenge!? (As long as the E-scooters don’t explode around them!)

    I will disagree though on the targets. They should never be set as statutory. That is not the way targets should be set. If that was the case then UK would have locked the door to people from Ukraine, Hong Kong and Afghanistan-a tragedy for them and not to my liking. For those who set them as statutory, then they should know better. Targets should always be allowed to flex. Significant steps over the next few years will be around CCS. That is not possible to set statutory targets for, it has to be developed. I expect to see some “targets” set for new nuclear to come on stream, and then think when have they ever been achieved historically. Goodness, the IMF set forecasts that can’t even last a few weeks!

    I will also disagree on UK responsibility historically. If anyone wants that, then consider the other side of the equation-the benefits of the industrial revolution. If other countries want to redistribute those benefits back to UK as reparation, then UK will have plenty of spare dosh to play Santa with, and end up with a surplus.

    Enjoy the sunshine. My supplementary heat from my heat pump can be reversed to provide cooling. I think I may be resetting for the holiday, after adding the shading to the greenhouse this morning.

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