BEIS Committee hears proposals for energy and climate inquiries

The BEIS Committee has heard proposals for potential inquiries into a range of energy and climate issues, including the decarbonisation of heat and the future of hydrogen.

In early March, the committee launched “My BEIS Inquiry”, inviting stakeholders and the wider public to come forward with issues it should investigate over the course of this Parliament. On 16 July, it heard 11 proposals* for inquiries – selected from 200 submissions – including one from Dr Jan Rosenow of the Regulatory Assistance Project, who pitched an inquiry into decarbonising heat. With heat one of the toughest challenges facing UK climate policy, Rosenow suggested a potential inquiry could focus on increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, replacing oil and gas heating with renewables and scrutinising the government’s upcoming Heat Strategy.

Dr Luke Warren, Chief Executive of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) made the case for an inquiry into the future of low carbon hydrogen production, stating that the UK is well placed to become a major producer.

Elsewhere, Hannah Dillon of the Zero Carbon Campaign proposed an inquiry into the future of UK carbon pricing within the transition to net zero, while Claire Holland, Chair of the Transport and Environment Committee, London Councils, called for an inquiry that focuses on the role of local government in the development of a low carbon economy.

BEIS Committee

*The 11 proposals heard by the committee:

  • Singe Norberg of the Aldersgate Group argued that the committee should look at the impact of digitising the economy, highlighting opportunities for businesses to harness technologies that could play a role in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Dr Jan Rosenow of the Regulatory Assistance Project called for an inquiry on decarbonising heat, suggesting it focus on increasing energy efficiency of buildings, replacing oil and gas heating with renewables and scrutinising the government’s forthcoming Heat Strategy.
  • Dr Luke Warren of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association (CCSA) pitched an inquiry into the future of low carbon hydrogen production, one that could explore the interface of low carbon hydrogen production with CCS technology, the use of hydrogen strategies in other countries and a potential UK hydrogen strategy within the industrial strategy.
  • Andrew Large of the Energy Intensive Users Group proposed an inquiry on industrial decarbonisation that would explore the benefits of targeting the reduction of total UK carbon consumption.
  • Hannah Dillon of The Zero Carbon Campaign made the case for an inquiry into the future of UK carbon pricing within the transition to net zero, suggesting it was not currently being used to its full potential, while the UK’s future emissions trading scheme proposal demonstrates a “significant lack of ambition”.
  • Daniel Quiggin of the Energy, Environment and Resources Programme at Chatham House pitched an inquiry assessing the feasibility of negative emissions technologies.
  • Dhara Vyas of Citizens Advice asked the committee to explore whether existing consumer protections were adequate and to ensure government plans to improve energy use in the home – through smart energy, energy efficiency or low carbon heat – will give people and businesses the confidence to transition to net zero.
  • Nick Robins of the London School of Economics called on the committee to launch an inquiry into how policy on net zero could deliver a just transition in relation to various groups in the UK, such as businesses, local government, communities and consumers.
  • Matthew Copeland of National Energy Action proposed a single-day inquiry into the fuel poverty strategy for England.
  • Councillor Claire Holland of the Transport and Environment Committee, London Councils, called for an inquiry exploring the role of local government in supporting the development of a low carbon economy, stating no net zero strategy will work without a local foundation.
  • Paul Ekins of University College London suggested an inquiry that addresses the need for additional institutions, both home and abroad, to meet net zero targets.