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‘Low-regrets framework’ to support urgent climate change action published

Published: 12/11/2021

Cover image of the low-regrets decision making report, from NEPCThe National Engineering Policy Centre, a partnership of 43 engineering organisations led by the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), has published a ‘low-regrets’ framework to guide government decisions on tackling carbon emissions across the UK. The framework will assist with identifying policy options to help put the country on a pathway to net zero. 

Low-regrets decisions are urgent decisions that can be made now to have a significant impact on decarbonisation. They can build flexibility, reduce costs for the future, deliver social, economic and environmental co-benefits, and help prioritise the use of limited resources.

The framework provides an engineering perspective on how such low-regrets options can be identified. Examples considered in the paper include retrofitting buildings to meet energy demand via a low-carbon technology, developing a battery electric vehicle (BEV) charging network, and pilot-scale trials of technologies such as hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

The framework describes achieving net zero as “an unprecedented challenge” and says that “Meeting the target is not possible without sweeping energy efficiency measures, and a structured program of transition from a dependency on fossil fuels towards a new system in which net zero emissions is achieved across all sectors of the UK economy”.

Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Adviser of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “Now is the time the world needs to go further and faster to tackle climate change. Prioritising low-regrets actions is a crucial component of our Net Zero Strategy to build back greener. The Prime Minister introduced the Strategy by warning against panicked, short-term or self-destructive measures that will hinder future efforts, and this framework will assist us with identifying the routes that will deliver not only the transition to net zero, but a healthier, happier, more equal society.”

Read the full announcement and download ‘Rapid ‘low-regrets’ decision making for net zero policy’ on the RAEng website.