7. Industry

Download a pdf version of the full report on how the government should address the Climate Emergency here.

Speed up decarbonisation of industry, and ensure the sector is zero carbon and circular before 2045

The industrial sector is one of the hardest sectors to fully decarbonise and make more sustainable in its resource use. Each of the many industrial sectors needs to develop its own expertise to find the best approach. In the short term, improving materials use – sometimes known as resource productivity – can minimise emissions. Radical decarbonisation technologies (such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) for low-carbon cement, or steel produced using hydrogen and renewable energy) need to be developed alongside creating markets for them to expand and push down costs (e.g public procurement or introducing new building standards).

Overarching measures

• Ban consumption of all fluorinated gases by 2026. Doing so would be amongst the most powerful policy levers the Government could follow immediately to curb UK emissions

• Create a clear plan with tangible deliverables for decarbonising all heavy industry sectors over the next two decades  – building upon and strengthening the existing Roadmaps

Innovation and market development

• Support development, testing and market growth for new technologies through establishing and sufficiently funding a network of low carbon heavy industry clusters by 2030, likely to include the locations of South Wales, Humberside and Teesside. This would build on the initiative announced for the first cluster in December 2018. Funding should be focused particularly on supporting innovation in steel and cement decarbonisation, as well as retraining and reskilling workers from the existing sector, to guarantee UK leadership and high quality jobs as the global market for these products is set to expand

• Boost public procurement where possible to encourage the establishment
of early markets for low-embodied carbon materials or substitution

• Launch a major cross-sectoral collaborative push with government, local authorities, business and academic institutes in order to develop and test next-generation low-carbon materials

• Support the use of new data sharing and AI technologies to accelerate learning and performance testing

• Mandate markets for low embodied carbon materials, especially in construction as demonstrated by commercial manager Landsec

Circular economy

• Set a target to double resource productivity significantly sooner than the Government’s current target of 2050. In contrast, Germany has a target of doubling resource productivity by 2020. This would mean that every bit of metal, energy, wood, glass, cotton or plastics consumed delivers twice as much use to society

• Design a metric for embodied carbon in products, especially construction, automotive, and electronics which can be used as enforceable product standards

• Extend the standards currently in EU Eco-design standards so that
manufacturers need to improve the resource efficiency of all products and appliances by more than 2% per year through increased lifetime/durability, ability to be repaired and recycled

• Place an obligation on manufacturers of products and appliances to
immediately start covering 100% costs of recycling and reuse (and in the short-term waste management) of the materials embedded in them