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The U.K. Makes a Big Push to Cut Its Emissions

October 12, 2017

At least one nation with United in its name is doing its part for the planet. The British government’s new Clean Growth Strategy has been a long time coming, but its arrival is a welcome reminder that bold commitments designed to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement are still a possibility. The new document outlines 50 policies that the government hopes will help it reduce emissions by 57 percent in time for 2032.

First—and in some contrast to America—the nation will close down all of its coal power plants that aren't fitted with carbon capture systems by 2025. And in the meantime, it will strongly support the buildout of new clean-energy infrastructure, putting up 550 million pounds in new subsidies for wind farms, for instance, and (somewhat surprisingly) supporting the construction of new nuclear plants (with the caveat that they must be more affordable than the ill-fated Hinkley Point C facility).

Elsewhere, there’s a big push to speed up adoption of hybrid and electric cars, too. The government will be spending 1 billion pounds on kickstarting the uptake of ultra-low-emission vehicles, by helping consumers overcome the up-front cost of such cars, and investing 841 million pounds into research on low-carbon transport options, including better batteries and semi-autonomous truck platoons.

The plan also commits almost 1 billion pounds to clean-energy innovation, earmarking 265 million pounds to develop smart grid storage, 460 million pounds for the development of future nuclear technologies, and 177 million pounds for advances that will drive down the cost of renewables.

Perhaps most interesting is that it doesn’t see these measures as negatively impacting the economy. In fact, the executive summary of the document suggests that “the low-carbon economy could grow at 11 per cent a year between 2015 and 2030, four times faster than the projected growth of the economy as a whole.” And, somehow, it's also been welcomed by both the domestic energy industry and environmentalists, according to the Engineer. So, er … who wants to tell Donald Trump?

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