National Grid 'Action on climate change must top the agenda in 2021' story

Action on climate change must top the agenda in 2021

A key priority for 2021 is accelerating action on climate change to help us create a greener, cleaner energy future. Here our CEO John Pettigrew outlines why this year is set to be pivotal to addressing the climate challenge and building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year will be remembered in all sorts of ways. When it comes to climate change, the political and business will for taking action was strong and growing. Targets have been set, commitments announced and investment plans and roadmaps drawn up. There are clear ambitions to make progress in zero-carbon technologies, such as CCUS; all backed by strong consumer support to shift to clean energy.

Accelerating action on climate change now hinges not only on consensus among nations, governments, business, regulators and consumers on how to achieve this goal, but with demonstrable action on the ground.

I know we have an important role to play in the delivery of a cleaner future, which is why the energy transition and reaching net zero are top of our agenda. Our continued work to connect more renewables to the electricity grid, create charging infrastructure in the US and UK to enable wider adoption of electric vehicles, and develop and deploy new decarbonisation technologies, are all critical to this.

Five things to watch for in 2021

As we look ahead, here are five key things I think we need to watch for this year:

1. The UK’s ten-point plan

After this was announced at the end of last year, we expect to see focused efforts from the UK government on delivery and investment against each of its stated climate ambitions.

2. Technology

With huge amounts to achieve this year, there will no doubt be continued developments and investments in zero-carbon technologies, connecting up the vast growth in offshore wind and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.

3. COP26

There will be momentum building in the lead up to COP26. We’re already seeing this, with ambitious announcements from Japan, South Korea and China towards the end of last year, and I think it will continue to be a driver for global change. As a Principle Partner for COP26, we will be playing our part to show how we can achieve net zero with the technologies and opportunities we have today.

4. The Biden administration

Delivering clean energy will be at the heart of the US government as the world expects to see the US re-join the Paris Agreement once Biden assumes presidency. With $2 trillion investment earmarked to revitalise the US energy sector, turbo charge the green economy and tackle climate change, we wait in anticipation for action in support of renewables.

5. Green economic recovery

As economies are rebuilt in the wake of COVID-19, ensuring a green recovery, with an emphasis on jobs and skills for the future, will achieve a better result for all.

Progress is critical

I’m acutely aware that we need a long-term policy and regulatory framework that will drive necessary private sector investment in energy infrastructure. This is critical to ensure both a green economic recovery and a fair and just transition. Without the right investment, progress towards net zero could stall and, in 2021, that’s simply not an option with so much at stake.