A new report published by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram says Liverpool city region must halve its energy use by 2040 to meet tough net-zero carbon targets. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool city region must halve its energy use by 2040, or even sooner, if it is to meet its carbon reduction targets, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is warning.
A new report from the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (CA) lays out the scale of the challenge faced by public bodies, private companies and individuals across Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens and Halton in the next two decades.
Two months after the COP26 climate summit, the report to January’s CA meeting sets out how a net-zero carbon city region will look, the work already under way and the rapid changes needed to achieve the target.
The Liverpool City Region Pathway to Net Zero document also reveals the cost of becoming net-zero, the economic and individual benefits and the effect climate change will have on the city region.
At the moment fossil fuels, including natural gas, diesel and petrol, provide 75% of the city’s region’s energy needs. It says there is an “urgent” need for people to change the way they travel – with cars responsible for more than 65% of transport emissions.
It adds that public transport use needs to rise by 5% a year by 2025 and 10% a year by 2030. Its vision is for 50% of journeys in towns and cities to be active and for remaining cars to be electric.
It says £1bn investment is needed in transport each year by 2025 to achieve net zero. In total, the report reveals that to hit the 2040 target the Liverpool city region will need £45bn of investment over the next 20 years.
Around £15bn will be required to decarbonise the energy supply, with a further £12bn needed to make homes net zero. And decarbonising workplaces and industry will cost at least £5bn. And this investment will need to come from every part of society – including both from the public and private sectors and from national Government.
The city region needs to waste less, consume more locally sourced food, eat more plant-based food and double the amount of carbon capturing habitats such as woodland and saltmarshes, the report states.
However, despite the huge challenges, it says the target is achievable with rapid, collective action. And it stresses the need to create a fair future with help for vulnerable people and those less able to afford the switch to zero carbon.
Businesses and individuals must switch to renewable sources such as low carbon electricity and hydrogen. The drop in carbon emissions needs to be greatest in the next five years. By 2040 most people will use electricity for cars, heating and cooking, and reduced energy use through efficiency and people changing their behaviours will mean renewable energy goes further.
Mr Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “We are facing a race against time to save our planet from the threat of climate change. It will not happen overnight and will not be easy, but we all have our part to play.
“If trains, docks, and canals made us the gateway to the first Industrial Revolution – then our emerging strengths in wind, tidal and hydrogen can make us leaders in the green industrial revolution, creating tens of thousands of high-quality, high paying jobs for local people.
The Metro Mayor’s £500,000 Community Environment Fund is funding projects to cut transport emissions through low and zero-carbon public transport and a 600km walking and cycling network. Thousands of the city region’s least energy efficient homes are also being ‘retrofitted’ to use less power.
In the longer term clean energy schemes including plans to triple the size of wind power generation in Liverpool Bay and the Mersey Tidal Project are being progressed – building on existing and developing strengths in hydrogen and wind power
New carbon capture and hydrogen production technology is being pioneered at Hynet while in St Helens, Glass Futures is leading the way in decarbonising the energy-intensive industry and Pilkington set a world-first by using hydrogen power to produce glass.
“At COP26 in Glasgow in November we showed to the world that we are one of the places leading the way through innovative and significant industrial projects including Mersey Tidal, Glass Futures and HyNet,” added the Metro Mayor.
“Make no mistake, this is our moment. I want others to look to the Liverpool city region as the exemplar when it comes to tackling climate change.”