Water companies in England have launched a major project to design the plan that will help deliver their world-leading goal to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The water industry is the first industrial sector in the UK, and one of the first major sectors in the world, to commit to a carbon zero future by 2030. The goal forms part of the industry’s Public Interest Commitment (PIC) released in April with the carbon zero goal one of five stretching social and environmental ambitions.
As the fourth most energy intensive industry in the UK, the water sector directly contributes around 5 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. As well as the immediate impact of carbon reductions, the industry intends to share its learnings to help other major energy-using industries to deliver their own plans.
Working with two international consultancies, Ricardo and Mott MacDonald, the sector will develop a comprehensive action plan detailing the measures the industry will deploy to achieve zero carbon emissions over the next decade. The consultancies will add their expertise and lead on the production of the plan, which will be published in March 2020 followed by a detailed report in the summer. Ricardo and Mott Macdonald, on behalf of Water UK and UKWIR, will carry out research to help define and agree a practical approach to the pledge, while also assessing what carbon reduction measures will have most impact. Progress on the goal will be independently assessed each year, with key milestones reported publicly. Individual companies will use the action plan to inform their own detailed approaches to meeting net zero across the industry by 2030.The announcement comes as the UN reveals countries will have to increase their carbon-cutting ambitions five-fold if the world is to avoid warming by more than 1.5C. The annual emissions gap report showed that even if all current promises are met, the world will warm by more than double that amount by 2100.