Green recovery warning as UK goes 1,000 hours with no coal

Written by Lori Campbell on 26th May 2020

Global health organisations – representing 40 million medical workers – urge world leaders to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis as the UK approaches a record 1,000 hours without using coal for energy. Meanwhile, Europe’s first commercial scale waste-to-jet fuel plant in North Lincolnshire is granted planning permission, Tate & Lyle commits to cutting its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 and the UK government launches a £40 million Clean Growth Fund to support green start-up companies. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief. 


Global health leaders call for green recovery from COVID-19

Medical professionals from across the globe have called on world leaders to ensure a green recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

Around 40 million health workers across 200 organisations – about half of the global medical workforce – have signed an open letter to the G20 leaders and their chief medical advisers, urging them to tackle air pollution and climate breakdown in the economic recovery.

The letter highlights the seven million premature deaths caused by air pollution each year and warns that further environmental degradation could unleash future diseases.

The signatories also want reforms to fossil fuel subsidies, with public support shifted towards renewable energy, which they say would help to spur economic growth of nearly $100 trillion (£81 trillion) in the next three decades.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that oil giant BP is a “key stakeholder” in COP26, which will see global leaders meet in Glasgow for crunch climate talks. Government briefing documents obtained by Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that BP executives met with the Government’s COP26 unit “to discuss how BP could contribute to the presidency.”

UK approaches record 1,000 hours without coal

The UK is fast approaching a record 1,000 hours since coal was used to generate electricity as the industry shifts towards green energy.

The record number of ‘no coal’ hours – with coal not being used since April 9 -comes as consumers are increasingly choosing clean energy for their homes.

Mark Gutteridge of energy auto-switching site Flipper said: “Using coal produces much, much more CO2 than any other form of generating electricity, so the fact coal hasn’t been used in the UK since April 9 is good news for the environment”.

Interest in green energy has been steadily growing for some time, but the drop in pollution levels worldwide during the Coivd-19 pandemic appears to have spurred people into looking at how they can be more environmentally-friendly.

Industry champions have welcomed the news and say people no longer have to choose between green energy and cheap energy.

Mr Gutteridge said: “There are more than 30 different green tariffs available and many of these are amongst the lowest priced deals you can find, offering savings of £300 per year or more to a typical user currently on a standard tariff”.

The Flipper service allows customers to set ‘Green Tariffs Only’ as a preference.

Check out our top 6 truly green energy providers for 2020

Green light for UK’s first waste-to-jet fuel plant

The UK’s first commercial scale waste-to-jet fuel plant has been granted planning permission.

The site in North East Lincolnshire will be Europe’s first plant of commercial size to transform waste into low-carbon jet fuel. Altalto Immingham, a subsidiary of renewable fuel developer Velocys, submitted the planning request in August 2019.

The company – which has been set up in collaboration with British Airways and Shell – plans to take hundreds of tonnes of black bag household and commercial waste and turn it into green fuel to be used by the aviation industry.

It is expected to create 130 permanent skilled jobs and many more during construction. Construction is set to begin 2022, subject to additional funding, and the facility could be operational by 2025.

Velocys’s chief executive Henrik Wareborn said: “It’s fantastic news that the Planning Committee has approved our waste-to-jet-fuel project, which will be a first for the UK. Sustainable aviation fuels are essential for decarbonising this challenging sector and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”

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Tate & Lyle to cut emissions by 30% by 2030

Food and drink ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.

The company has also committed to cutting its water use by 15 per cent and ensuring that 100 per cent of its waste is used “beneficially” in the same timeframe.

Tate & Lyle’s director of sustainability Anna Pierce said: “These stretching new targets demonstrate our steadfast commitment to integrating sustainability into our day-to-day business activities, processes and culture.”

The company – which is backing its environmental targets with a $800 million (£654 million) revolving credit facility – has also committed to eliminating the use of coal from its operations by 2025.

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Green start-ups to get £40m Clean Growth boost

The government has launched a new £40 million Clean Growth Fund to support UK start-up companies in the fields of low-carbon power, waste, transport and buildings.

The fund – which could rise to £100 million by 2021 – includes £20 million of government investment and is matched by charity fund manager CCLA. It is open to UK start-ups with low-carbon and sustainable solutions across key sectors including power, waste management heating of buildings and transport.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The need for innovative and ambitious ideas across green industries has never been greater. I am pleased that with the help of this fund, promising clean growth start-ups will be able to step up to accelerate the UK’s recovery, while supporting our path to Net Zero by 2050.

“This pioneering new fund will enable innovative low-carbon solutions to be scaled up at speed, helping to drive a green and resilient economic recovery.”

The Fund has been set up to support the UK’s net-zero goal for 2050 and the government is seeking wider private sector investments. This could see the fund reach £100 million by Autumn 2021. The fund will be managed by Clean Growth Investment Management LLP (CGIM).

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