How is Brexit affecting the UK’s renewable and low carbon energy policies?

As the Brexit deadline looms and Ministers struggle to take a no-deal option off the table, leading energy and policy experts have argued that leaving the EU without a deal would considerably increase the price of the UK’s low-carbon transition. 

The UK’s climate policy is intimately aligned with that of the EU. So how will the country’s political departure from its geographical neighbour’s impact progress on its net-zero carbon targets?  

On the 14th December, the UK government announced it will launch an emissions trading system (ETS) for domestic industry and power generation from January 1 next year.  This ‘ambitious plan’ to clean up the country’s energy system will support up to 220,000 jobs, and keep bills affordable as the transition to net zero by 2050 continues.  

The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) welcomed the announcement of a new UK ETS as a bold step in the right direction toward climate neutrality. As well as promoting cost effective decarbonisation, it will allow businesses to cut carbon where it is cheapest to do so as well as promoting innovation and growth for UK businesses.  

It will be the world’s first net zero carbon cap and trade market, and a step towards achieving the UK’s target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Plans for the system were laid out earlier this year and it’s based mostly on the European Union version, but the UK. said it planned to make the system about 5% tighter than its share would have been in the next stage of the European market. 

IETA EU Policy Director Adam Berman said in a statement posted on the IETA website:  

“Choosing a carbon pricing system that can be truly aligned with net-zero sends a strong message that the UK is serious about action on climate change… Emissions trading provides multiple options for strengthening and enhancing price signal. The UK ETS will ensure both flexibility for industry and environmental certainty for policymakers.” 

The outcome of the trade negotiations between London and Brussels could ultimately decide how likely it will be for the two carbon systems to be linked.