Members of the commission, which was assembled by the Zero Carbon Campaign, have been drawn from political, scientific, academic and climate policy backgrounds
An expert commission assembled by the Zero Carbon Campaign has begun work to design a carbon pricing system that could help drive the UK towards its 2050 net zero goal, the decarbonisation pressure group announced yesterday.
The new commission will spend the next two months unpicking the challenges involved in designing an effective carbon pricing policy, such as ensuring the poorest in society are protected against the cost impacts of decarbonisation and taking steps to maintain international competitiveness for carbon intensive industries. It will also explore how revenue from the pricing mechanism could be used to ease the transition to a net zero economy for low income households, as well as drive the innovation required to decarbonise heavy industry
The policy recommendations will be delivered to the government in a white paper due for publication in April 2020, the Zero Carbon Campaign said.
Members of the commission are drawn from political, scientific, academic and climate policy backgrounds. They include, Lord Adair Turner, senior fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and chair of the Energy Transition Commission, Nick Butler, energy Commentator for the The Financial Times, Professor Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environment Policy at the Bartlett School Environment, Energy & Resources, Professor Sam Fankhauser, Director of the Grantham Institute at LSE, John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace, Dr. Rhian-Mari Thomas, CEO of the Green Finance Institute, Baroness Worthington, founder of Sandbag and co-author of the UK's Climate Change Act, and Georgia Berry, director for sustainable business and communications at OVO Energy and former Downing Street adviser on energy policy.
In an open letter written to coincide with the start of the commission's work, the group called on the government to "move quickly to deliver a concrete plan of action for achieving" the UK's 2050 net-zero goal.
"Carbon pricing may yet provide a crucial part of the answer to the UK's absent net zero implementation plan," the letter states. "Whilst pricing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases would by no means provide the entire solution to the net zero problem, carbon pricing could certainly play a significant role in emissions reduction."
The Zero Carbon Campaign was launched last July by OVO Energy founder Stephen Fitzpatrick with the aim of persuading the Prime Minister to extend carbon pricing more broadly across the UK economy ahead of COP26, which will be hosted in Glasgow in November.
"With COP26 fast approaching, Britain has an incredible opportunity to lead the global transition to net zero emissions," Fitzpatrick said. "A thorough carbon pricing policy will help to ensure a green economy that is fair and inclusive. I'm confident that Britain can rise to this challenge and hope MPs and ministers will pay close attention to these proposals as they are developed over the coming months."
Advocates of carbon pricing have long argued that it is one of the key mechanisms for correcting the market failure that drives carbon emissions and driving investment in low carbon technologies. But critics have countered that it is not a panacea and that designing an effective carbon pricing mechanism can prove hugely challengeing, as evidenced by the years during which the EU emissions trading scheme struggled to impact investment decisions.
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