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Carbon budgets should be devolved to regions says new report Sunflower and turbine Full view

Carbon budgets should be devolved to regions says new report

Carbon budgets should be devolved so regions can lead UK in realising economic benefits of decarbonisation

IPPR sets out a plan for empowering regions to deliver a national decarbonisation ‘mission’

The Government should devolve carbon budgets to the regional level, according to a new report published today from IPPR, the progressive policy think tank.

The North of England – the focus of the report – and other regions are already at the forefront of realising the opportunity of decarbonisation, with the north having over a third of low carbon jobs in England and generating nearly 50% of England’s renewable energy. Decarbonisation is also a major challenge for the North, which is more carbon intensive than other regions and suffers from a lack of investment.  Devolved carbon budgets would enable regions to set and drive progress towards decarbonisation, drawing on their local expertise and capabilities to realise the potential of the transition. In the case of the north, regional opportunities include:

  • the move toward more renewable and efficient use of energy
  • the rollout of technologies to help manufacturing businesses reduce emissions
  • and the transition to a cleaner, more connected and efficient transport system.

Devolution of carbon budgets should come alongside the government including an explicit decarbonisation mission in its industrial strategy. This mission should seek to secure the greatest socioeconomic benefit to the UK from a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050 – and help the government tackle one of the “Grand Challenges” set out in last month’s industrial strategy white paper.

Laurie Laybourn-Langton, IPPR Senior Research Fellow said:  “Full decarbonisation is a significant opportunity for the UK economy, as well as a profound challenge. The recent Clean Growth Strategy and ongoing Industrial Strategy have signalled the government’s intention not only to meet domestic commitments at lowest cost, but to maximise the social and economic benefits of the decarbonisation transition.

“But more needs to be done to drive demand for low carbon goods and services and support firms in supplying them. Action at the regional level is key, and so we recommend regional carbon budgets so regions can take ownership of the rapid structural change needed to reach net decarbonisation by the midpoint of the century. This would enable their leaders, particularly mayors, to sit at the forefront of the climate effort – but, in return, more money and powers need to be given to them by Whitehall.”

 The new IPPR report Net-zero North: Delivering the decarbonisation mission in the North of England is available at

The report builds on the work of the Northern Energy Taskforce and it’s final Northern Energy Strategy, which was published in October 2017. It is available at

The Northern Energy Taskforce was established to oversee an ambitious programme of work over 18 months to develop an energy strategy for the North of England. The Taskforce was chaired by Sir John Harman, and supported by a number of high-profile figures with expertise across infrastructure, engineering, finance, academia and local government. It was supported by IPPR staff in a research and secretariat capacity.



Written by Gather

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