The policy landscape

In June 2019 the UK became one of the first major economies in the world to pass a Net Zero Emissions Law - the new target will require the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

The UK’s 2050 net zero target — one of the most ambitious in the world — was recommended by the Committee on Climate Change, the UK’s independent climate advisory body.

In Feb 2021 Welsh Government also set out its legal commitment to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2050, but is pushing to “get there sooner”

Policy Best Practice Research

A key policy to be aware of is The Welsh Public Sector Net Zero Reporting Guide, the aim of which is to develop a universal set of instructions for use by Welsh public bodies, to estimate baseline emissions, identify priority sources and to monitor progress towards meeting the collective ambition of a carbon neutral public sector by 2030. There is an associated net zero carbon reporting spreadsheet for the public sector to use to capture and report their emissions.

The Paris Agreement

Climate Change is a global emergency which doesn’t respect borders. It requires international cooperation and a coordinated plan across the world to mitigate its negative impacts. At the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), world leaders reached a breakthrough which resulted in the Paris Agreement.

The agreement set out long term goals to:

The agreement is a legally binding international treaty and to date 192 countries plus the European Union have signed it. The agreement includes commitments from all countries to reduce their emissions and work together to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

What net zero policy is there in Wales and who owns it?

The Welsh Government Net Zero Action Plan (2022) collates and shares 139 pledges which have been made across Wales from businesses, public sector bodies, communities, schools and individuals to understand and reduce carbon footprints. The national plan makes use of efficient emission-reducing case studies from a range of sources, including energy and heat generation, transport, buildings, education, and waste, all of which have several digital case studies to highlight the work already being done across Wales.

Another key policy in this area is the UK Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener (2021) and it will influence and facilitate the 2050 net zero objective in Wales. Climate Change is a devolved issue, meaning Welsh Government sets its own emissions targets, however, energy is largely a reserved policy area which means the UK Government is responsible for regulating the UK oil and gas industry and the electricity industry, including the generation, transmission, distribution and supply. This means the policy landscape for Wales can be a confusing and complicated area to understand.

The UK Net Zero Strategy was presented pursuant to Section 14 of the Climate Change Act (2008) and primarily focuses on reducing emissions across the economy by supporting the transition to green innovations to reach emission targets across several key industries. Principle UK government investment plans include utilising Wales’s natural resources to decarbonise the energy sector, such as future nuclear technologies, including investments in Wylfa nuclear power station in north Wales.

The All Wales Low Carbon Delivery Plan (2021-2025) outlines a series of associated policies which can be used to help the transition to a Low Carbon Wales. It highlights that the Digital Strategy for Wales can support our journey to net zero by: