January 19, 2021
On 25 December 2020, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) reported to the Growth Strategy Council on the “Green Growth Strategy towards 2050 Carbon Neutrality” including the reference “even the UK’s ambitious scenario is about 65%” referring to renewable energy targets by 2050. However, the British Embassy pointed out an issue about this description. We would like to take this opportunity to present the background information on this.
- 1. The UK government asked for advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change (an independent body that makes recommendations to the UK government on climate change) when considering setting a 2050 net zero target, and the Committee on Climate Change submitted the quoted report (“Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming”) to the UK Government in May 2019. The UK government revised its previous target of 80% reduction to Net Zero by 2050 in June 2019.
- The ‘Further Ambition Scenario’ in the Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero report includes a renewable energy ratio of about 65% in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 96%. At the Green Innovation Strategy Promotion Council on 11 November 2020, and the Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy on 17 November 2020, METI cited the source and shared this information presenting it as ‘a scenario with certain assumptions, which does not prescribe the future energy mix’.
- At the Growth Strategy Council on 25 December, the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry referred to the figures in the UK Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero Report which had been included in the Green Growth Strategy. He noted that Japan was also aiming to achieve the same goal after having committed to carbon neutrality by 2050.
- After that, the British Embassy pointed out that:
- The UK Committee on Climate Change released a new report, the Sixth Carbon Budget, in December 2020, and the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which is responsible for energy policy, set out its thinking on decarbonisation by 2050 in its Energy White Paper (released on 14 December 2020) including a variety of scenario analyses.
- These analyses, including the UK Committee on Climate Change Net Zero report 65% renewable energy illustration, are example scenarios, not UK government policies or targets.
- The UK does not set a full generation-wide energy mix with targets for each form of generation.
- If UK policy is to be referenced, it would be appropriate to refer to policy set out by BEIS which is responsible for energy policy in the UK.
- For this reason, we would like confirm the British Embassy has addressed these points and also shared the latest reports*
- METI has indicated a figure of 50% to 60% for the ratio of renewable energy as a reference based on reports from expert organizations at the Advisory Committee on Natural Resources and Energy. It is only a reference for further discussion and is not a government target. We will deepen discussion further, taking into account other scenarios.
- The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming (Net Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming), published by the UK Committee on Climate Change on 2 May 2019, shows that the share of renewable energy is about 65% in the Further Ambition Scenario, a 96% reduction scenario.
- The Sixth Carbon Budget released by the UK Committee on Climate Change on 9 December 2020, shows that the share of renewable energy is about 80% in the ‘Balanced Net Zero Pathway’, a 100% reduction scenario. The analysis and scenarios in Sixth Carbon Budget report are considered an update to the Further Ambition scenario.
- The UK Energy White Paper published by BEIS on 14 December 2020 sets out the strategic context for the power sector in reaching Net Zero (100% reduction). This includes examples of what a Net Zero consistent power sector could look like in 2050. The accompanying Modelling 2050 – Electricity System Analysis report sets out what a Net Zero consistent power sector could look like for 2050 and what the characteristics are of a low cost, low emissions system.
- Annex O entitled ‘Net Zero and the power sector scenarios’ in the report ‘Updated energy and emissions projections 2019’ published by BEIS on 23 December 2020: In this annex two illustrative Net Zero-consistent power sector electricity demand and generation scenarios are presented. In the Net Zero Lower Demand case, electricity generation from renewables is 405TWh in 2050 – around 65% of domestic generation. In the Net Zero Higher Demand case, electricity generation from renewables is 430TWh – about 60% of domestic generation in 2050. In both Net Zero scenarios, by 2050 low carbon generation makes up more than 99% of domestic generation.
Note: These scenarios represent a range of net-zero consistent scenarios. They are not forecasts nor do they indicate a preferred outcome. None of these figures are UK targets or policies.