Government must capitalize on Yorkshire being at the forefront of green energy revolution – report
The Yorkshire and Humber region has become an integral part of the bid to ensure the nation can meet the ambitious goal of drastically reducing the harmful carbon dioxide emissions responsible for overheating the planet.
Data revealed exclusively to The Yorkshire Post by think tank IPPR North ahead of the publication of a major report on Monday highlighted the spectacular rise of the green energy sector in the region.
However, the researchers argued that the North is not benefiting equitably from its national contribution to the government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050 and has not been empowered to reduce its own emissions.
Studies by IPPR North have shown that Yorkshire and the Humber have the highest level of emissions per capita in England.
Emissions in the region are equivalent to 6.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita, compared to a national figure of five tonnes.
IPPR North Acting Director Arianna Giovannini, who is one of the authors of the State of the North report, said: “Regional and local institutions currently play a limited role in policy-making.
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“This must change: only by empowering local leaders will communities across Yorkshire and the North reap the wider benefits of a just transition to a bottom-up designed and implemented green economy.
“Giving mayors, local leaders and communities a greater say in the nature of politics would not only help reduce carbon emissions, but would also provide a better future for Yorkshire and the North as a whole.
“Yorkshire is already leading the way in contributing to renewable energy, and places across the region have bold proposals on how to create happier and healthier communities, ensuring local people feel its benefits.
“Shifting power from Whitehall to our town halls is key to achieving this.”
The research showed Yorkshire and the Humber is already powering the country’s transition to net zero and has seen a 4,206% increase in its contribution to renewables since 2003.
Energy produced from renewable sources in the region has increased from 651 gigawatt hours in 2003 to 28,044 gigawatt hours in 2020.
This figure is almost three times the contribution made by the South East of England, and almost as much as the whole of Scotland.
A senior researcher at IPPR North, Jonathan Webb, who is another author of the report, said: “Despite the huge contribution it makes to our net zero ambitions, the promise of widespread green jobs for people in the Yorkshire, to power the North and the country, seems too distant a prospect.
“That’s a problem because our research shows that the North, as the driver of our transition to net zero, is critical to leveling success.”
The Department for Upgrading, Housing and Communities highlighted the government’s commitment to promoting the green energy sector and highlighted more than £33m of investment to support decarbonisation plans industry in the Humber.
A spokeswoman said: “Empowering local leaders is an integral part of leveling and the work has already begun – in 2020 we finalized a devolution deal with South Yorkshire, unlocking £900m of additional funding and agreed a devolution deal with West Yorkshire which will provide £1.1billion.
“The Net Zero Strategy sets out our commitments to enable local areas to achieve net zero and the upcoming upgrade white paper will build on the steps the government is already taking to both achieve net zero and level the net zero. UK.”