Leaders from politics, business and energy infrastructure providers in the North West have launched an ambitious vision to become a UK leader in tackling the climate emergency and boosting a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the UK prepares to host the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) later this year, ‘North West Net Zero: The Road to COP26’ outlined the wide-ranging measures already being taken to accelerate progress to net zero in the North West by at least 2040, some 10 years ahead of the national target.
The North West is the first UK region to have a cohesive vision to reach net zero by at least 2040, including the development of an energy masterplan.
The event served as a call to action to others across the North West to unite behind a cohesive plan to decarbonise industry, accelerate low-carbon energy solutions and promote green innovation to benefit communities and the economy.
Specific projects in the region include the North West Energy and Hydrogen Cluster and the Mersey Tidal Power project.
Commenting, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said the aim is “to make our region the country’s leading region when it comes to the zero carbon economy”.
He continued by saying: “Today is about showing the power and potential of a whole region pulling in the same direction to tackle the climate emergency. Together, we hope to build a movement to make the North West the country’s leading force in the zero carbon economy.
“If we get serious now about the climate crisis, it will also help us tackle the post-pandemic jobs crisis. There are tens of thousands of good green jobs just waiting to be created across the North West in retrofitting our buildings, modernising our energy systems and decarbonising our transport. Now is absolutely the time to make that happen.
“We are outlining our vision to achieve a net zero North West by at least 2040, 10 years ahead of the national target. Benchmarks like these not only give us something to aim at, they also demand meaningful commitments and urgent action.
“All of us gathered today are already taking that action, working together and developing detailed energy and environment plans for our places which can meet our collective ambitions.
“Come November, when all eyes are on the COP26 in Glasgow, we want to show the world that the North West of England is ready once again to lead an industrial revolution, this time a green one.”
Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram said that “our one North West voice, united by being carbon neutral by 2040 is a statement of intent”.
He went on to say: “The existential threat of the climate crisis is the greatest challenge facing our generation and we will only succeed if we tackle it together, using our respective strengths.
“Our region is becoming synonymous with green technology and jobs and I’m passionate about making the Liverpool City Region the UK’s renewable energy coast.
“We have a full range of energy options here, offshore wind in Liverpool Bay has helped make the UK the largest producer of wind power in Europe. We are at the forefront of hydrogen production and distribution and are piloting its use as an alternative fuel for domestic, industrial and transport.
“With government support, our Mersey Tidal Power project, delivering predictable, green reliable energy can play an important role in the UK’s future energy mix.
“The way in which we can bounce back quickly from the coronavirus crisis is to build our economic recovery on the opportunities offered by the green industrial revolution. For all of our futures, we must not fail.”