The Climate Change Committee has published its Sixth Carbon Budget report which highlights how perennial energy crops can provide local energy while significantly reducing carbon emissions and the need for fossil fuels. The report shows that the planting of energy crops is needed to remove CO2 in the UK and deliver wider environmental benefits to achieve a balanced net zero pathway for the land-use sector.
‘Growth in UK forestry and perennial energy crops is needed to supply sustainable biomass across the economy’
‘Biomass imports can be phased out by 2050 if UK supplies of forestry and perennial energy crops are expanded significantly’
‘Planting perennial energy crops (e.g. miscanthus and short-rotation coppice, such as Willow wood crops and Poplar wood crops) alongside short rotation forestry needs to accelerate quickly to at least 30,000 hectares a year by 2035, so that 700,000 hectares are planted by 2050’
This is a great opportunity for farmers and landowners across the country to enhance their farm mix and take bold new steps towards a more sustainable future – get in touch with ECC if you’re interested in growing SRC willow wood crops, SRC poplar wood crops and all aspects of Agroforestry!
As time goes on, the opinions of the Climate Change Committee are becoming more and more important. They are used to shape UK Government’s policies on everything from urban design to farming subsidies. Energy Crops Consultancy is very excited about the latest recommendations from the CCC about how the UK can reach net zero by 2035. Their ambitious plans involve farming practice and investment – particularly important now that we are post-Brexit. We can help interpret their findings to enable you to ensure you are doing all that your land can to bring the UK’s carbon emissions down. The Carbon Budget is an exciting document for farmers and landowners alike – get in touch with Energy Crops Consultancy today to find out how you can be part of the UK’s efforts for net-zero!
The following is an excerpt from the Carbon Budget – we’re paying extra attention to point 4!
Our recommended pathway requires a 78% reduction in UK territorial emissions between 1990 and 2035. In effect, bringing forward the UK’s previous 80% target by nearly 15 years.
The Sixth Carbon Budget can be met through four key steps:
Take up of low-carbon solutions. People and businesses will choose to adopt low-carbon solutions, as high carbon options are progressively phased out. By the early 2030s all new cars and vans and all boiler replacements in homes and other buildings are low-carbon – largely electric. By 2040 all new trucks are low-carbon. UK industry shifts to using renewable electricity or hydrogen instead of fossil fuels, or captures its carbon emissions, storing them safely under the sea.
Expansion of low-carbon energy supplies. UK electricity production is zero carbon by 2035. Offshore wind becomes the backbone of the whole UK energy system, growing from the Prime Minister’s promised 40GW in 2030 to 100GW or more by 2050. New uses for this clean electricity are found in transport, heating and industry, pushing up electricity demand by a half over the next 15 years, and doubling or even trebling demand by 2050. Low-carbon hydrogen scales-up to be almost as large, in 2050, as electricity production is today. Hydrogen is used as a shipping and transport fuel and in industry, and potentially in some buildings, as a replacement for natural gas for heating.
Reducing demand for carbon-intensive activities. The UK wastes fewer resources and reduces its reliance on high-carbon goods. Buildings lose less energy through a national programme to improve insulation across the UK. Diets change, reducing our consumption of high-carbon meat and dairy products by 20% by 2030, with further reductions in later years. There are fewer car miles travelled and demand for flights grows more slowly. These changes bring striking positive benefits for health and well-being.
Land and greenhouse gas removals. There is a transformation in agriculture and the use of farmland while maintaining the same levels of food per head produced today. By 2035, 460,000 hectares of new mixed woodland are planted to remove CO2 and deliver wider environmental benefits. 260,000 hectares of farmland shifts to producing energy crops. Woodland rises from 13% of UK land today to 15% by 2035 and 18% by 2050. Peatlands are widely restored and managed sustainably.
To find out what you can do to help the UK meet its climate responsibilities: