New Thinking: we have a plan

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on May 2, 19 • posted by

New Thinking: we have a plan

We have a plan – good governance to achieve a net-zero target

Rebecca Willis and Catherine Mitchell, 2nd May 2019

This morning, the Committee on Climate Change recommended that the UK should strengthen its climate change targets, to move Britain to net-zero carbon by mid-Century. The advice, coming the day after the UK Parliament voted to declare a ‘climate emergency’, provides welcome evidence that far-reaching climate action is both feasible and economically sound.

Throughout the report, the CCC stresses the crucial role of policy and governance in achieving a transition to zero-carbon. The target will, it says,

“only be deliverable with a major strengthening and acceleration of policy effort.” The Committee is too polite to spell it out, but the implication is that policy signals are currently too weak and confused to drive decisive action. Achieving more ambitious goals will require strengthened institutions, greater engagement across government departments and at local level.

At IGov, over the last 6.5 years we have put a huge amount of thought into the changes needed to GB energy governance, to achieve the CCC’s recommendations. We argue that the current picture is confused, with multiple advisory and regulatory bodies, working to different objectives; with conflicting policy signals that reduce certainty for innovators; minimal means to listen to society; and an absence of coordination.

We have already set out our views on the changes to institutions that are necessary to set a clear direction for the energy system – with a central new institution: the Energy Transformation Commission.

Over the coming weeks we will publish our ‘IGov 10’ – which is a short paper which brings together all the key arguments developed from the research undertaken via the IGov project and sets out our plan to deliver a net zero energy system by 2050 – our fit for purpose energy governance framework. This includes Jess Britton’s idea on local governance; Richard Lowes’s ideas on decarbonising heat; Tom Pownall’s work on design of markets (local and national) as well as the institutional analysis. And if you want to learn more about the vital role of governance in driving change, you can sign up to our free online course, Transforming Energy Systems: Why governance matters.


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