Climate change minister promises action on hydrogen ‘this year’

The government will make “new, bolder steps” in climate change and “refresh our ambitions” to meet net zero carbon emission targets, Lord Ian Duncan – appointed parliamentary under secretary of state for climate change at BEIS less than two months ago, on 26 July – said yesterday. Speaking at a meeting hosted by the Embassy of Finland, titled ‘Towards a climate neutral future – ambition, solutions, actions,’ Duncan gave some hints on potential climate action – leaving aside uncertainty over when there will be an election and who would be in power afterwards.

He said there would have to be fundamental change, not just in how energy was governed but how people behave – giving as an example TV’s ‘Great British Bake-Off’, where “you never see the bakers using electric rings”.

Domestic heating was one area where more action was needed. Some areas would see heating provided by the electricity grid, he suggested and the Finnish use of district heating was one area where the UK could learn from the meeting hosts. But he promised he would “make a commitment this year” on hydrogen, which he wanted to go “from the drawing board to the drawing room”.

He also said we need to decarbonise the oil and gas industry, and that carbon capture, use and storage would have to be “at the heart” of UK action. Among other issues to get to grips with were electric vehicles, where “we need to refresh the greening of car fleets”.

Duncan said some UK targets could be met domestically but “in many we will have to collaborate” with other countries, highlighting airline and maritime emissions.

Asked about Brexit, he said it ““pales into insignificance against climate change,” and added that the UK would continue to “will work with our allies across the channel”, describing the UK’s current and past carbon emissions as a “moral question”.