Emissions in, bubbles out: UK plans world’s first carbon-neutral industry hub

Migrating starlings fly at dusk past electricity pylons silhouetted by the sunset in the Kent countryside, in Graveney, Britain, October 26, 2015. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/Files

LONDON – Britain plans by 2040 to develop the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial centre by teaming up emitters with industries that can reuse their polluting gases or by moving to lower carbon fuels such as hydrogen, it said on Thursday.

The government said it will commit up to 170 million pounds ($215 million) to the project, which could include capturing emissions from factories and reusing them in industries such as brewing to put the fizz in drinks.

Britain has been making progress in cutting emissions from the electricity sector by increasing renewable power generation as it seeks to phase out coal-fired generation by 2025.

“But to sustain this track record we need to tackle emissions from energy intensive sectors and bring clean growth to our great industrial centres,” energy minister Claire Perry said in a statement.

Industrial emissions, such as from the production of steel, ceramics and chemicals account for 25 percent of the country’s greenhouse gases.

The hub could be developed in existing industrial regions such as Grangemouth in Scotland, in South Wales or in England at Merseyside, Teeside, Humberside or Southampton.

The announcement comes as delegates from more than 190 countries meet in Poland to flesh out how to reach commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius this century.

Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 43 percent since 1990, meaning it is more than half way towards meeting a legally binding target to cut them by 2050 to 80 percent below 1990 levels.

($1 = 0.7900 pounds)

(Reuters – Reporting by Susanna Twidale; Editing by Hugh Lawson)