On Wednesday the UK government announced its ambition to eradicate the country’s contribution to global warming entirely by 2050. The statutory instrument laid before parliament introduces a legally binding net zero target for carbon emissions by the middle of this century. The UK becomes the first country in the G7 to legislate for net zero emissions and encouraged other major economies to follow their lead.
Responding on behalf of the industry, Oil and Gas UK’s Chief Executive, Deirdre Michie set out the role industry can play to enable the energy systems of the future and to help the development of technology that can mitigate carbon from other heavy emitting industries. Commenting, Michie said: ““Achieving net zero is a huge challenge that will affect all industries, businesses and people. Our sector needs to be involved in this agenda, work to realise the opportunities it presents and be an essential partner in supporting the UK to achieve its climate change ambitions.”
Acknowledging the target was ambitious Prime Minister Theresa May emphasised the “huge progress in growing our economy and the jobs market while slashing emissions”. May’s statement highlights the crucial challenge facing nations worldwide – how do we power economic growth and continue to improve living standards across the planet while meeting the challenge presented by climate change.
It is widely acknowledged that energy demand will continue to rise, in particular driven by increasing electrification. The International Energy Agency (IEA) expect 30 million electric cars to be on the road by 2040, by which time BP’s Energy Outlook 2019 predicts world energy demand will be 33% higher than in 2017.
As a cleaner energy source than other fossil fuels, and a reliable source of supply that complements renewable production, gas is expected to play an important role as a ‘bridging fuel’ to a cleaner energy future. Replacing coal with gas as a primary source of energy will be key, BP predict natural gas will overtake coal as the second source of energy by the middle of this decade.
Using gas-to-wire technology installed on existing offshore platforms to convert gas to power at source and transmitting into the onshore grid can help countries to maximise recovery of their natural resources and provide reliable, secure energy as they transition towards a net zero carbon target.
If ambitious targets are to be achieved the energy sector must collaborate and innovate. Meeting the challenge is complex and multifaceted but we’re pleased to be part of that conversation and, we believe, part of the solution.
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