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UK government to publish new net zero strategy ahead of COP26


Strategy in addition to imminent Energy White Paper

Biomass, offshore transition deal key policy strands

'Science is clear, commitments fall short'

London — The UK government is to publish a Net Zero Strategy in the lead-up to the COP26 United Nations climate talks in Glasgow, scheduled for November 2021, it said in an Oct. 15 response to the Committee on Climate Change's 2020 progress report to parliament.

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The strategy would be in addition to an Energy White Paper, a Transport Decarbonization Plan, and a Heat and Buildings Strategy due this autumn, it said.

"The strategy will set out the government's vision for transitioning to a net-zero economy, making the most of new growth and employment opportunities across the UK. These will raise ambition as we outline our path to hit our 2050 target," it said.

Among initiatives to be detailed in the upcoming Energy White Paper, meanwhile, is a cross-government biomass strategy to look at how biomass should be sourced and used across the economy. The strategy itself would be published in 2022, the government said.

The White Paper would also include initial findings of a review of policy on the future UK offshore oil and gas licensing regime, the government said.

"We have committed to deliver a transformational North Sea Transition Deal within this parliament," it said.

The deal, which is at an early stage, is to focus on how the oil and gas sector can deliver low carbon energy technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage, while reducing emissions from domestic offshore oil and gas production, it said.

As well as hosting COP26, the UK will take on the G7 presidency in 2021 and will make climate ambition a core priority, it said, with a focus not just on domestic climate action, but also encouraging international cooperation.

"We continue to press for much greater ambition around the world – more ambition to reduce emissions, more ambition to build resilience, and more ambition to cooperate and support each other," the government said.

"The science is clear. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we need to halve global emissions over the coming decade. However, current commitments made under the Paris Agreement fall far short of what is required," the government said.