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How effective is Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for Net Zero? (Includes interview)

Covering clean energy, transport, nature and innovative technologies are key feature of Boris Johnson’s November 2020 message. This week the Prime Minister outloined a blueprint,designed to enable the UK to take a step forwards in seeking to eradicate its contribution to climate change by 2050. The plans are considered to represent an important nod in terms of the direction that the government intends to take in the run up to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next year.

Despite this being a ten-point plan, many of the points have been previously announced and trialled with variable results. One new area and a central feature relates to hydrogen. Here Johnson said he was: “Working with industry aiming to generate 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for industry, transport, power and homes, and aiming to develop the first town heated entirely by hydrogen by the end of the decade”.

The Conservative Party leader also committed to: “Up to £500 million, including for trialling homes using hydrogen for heating and cooking, starting with a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, moving to a Hydrogen Village by 2025, with an aim for a Hydrogen Town – equivalent to tens of thousands of homes – before the end of the decade. Of this funding, £240 million will go into new hydrogen production facilities”.

According to Darren Walsh, Head of Power at global legal business, DWF, in a comment made to Digital Journal: “We are encouraged by Boris Johnson’s 10 Point Plan announced [this evening]. Many of our businesses are focused on striving to meet and exceed our net zero carbon commitments by 2050 and sooner; wherever possible. Having a clear strategy focused on the development of the nascent hydrogen market with a clear emphasis on green hydrogen will be key to this. Hydrogen is by no means the panacea to net zero carbon, but it must play a key part in the UK’s strategy with a focus on addressing domestic and commercial sources of heating; as well as the transport sector.”

However, the enthusiasm is not shared by everyone. The opposition Labour Party has called the plan “deeply, deeply disappointing” in ambition. In addition, the party states that the measures are insufficient to tackle the climate emergency nor will they address the jobs crisis caused by coronavirus.

Furthermore, The Financial Times has reported that the plan is a “far cry” from what will be needed to reach net-zero emissions, citing different climate experts. To add to this, New Scientist asks if the plan is enough to reach net-zero, noting that “in general, the plan’s most obvious shortcoming is money”.

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