The UK government will put nuclear power at the centre of UK’s net zero emissions strategy, with a decarbonisation plan set to be published next week.
Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng will reveal a “Net Zero Strategy” paper as soon as Monday, together with a “Heat and Building Strategy” and an assessment of the costs to hit the 2050 climate targets, according to the Financial Times.
Large atomic power stations will use a “regulated asset base” model, and UK residents will pay for the plant through an energy tax before it starts providing electricity, which could happen up to 10 years from when final investment decisions are taken.
The scheme is believed to attract investment from institutional investors such as pension funds.
But critics say consumers could face delayed construction costs.
What about eating less meat and post-Brexit trade deals?
According to the newspaper, the government’s documents will not ask UK people to eat less meat, despite the big carbon footprint beef and dairy products have.
But it will announce a ban on new domestic gas boilers from 2035, as the government is planning to provide grants worth £5,000 for air source heat pumps and £6,000 for ground source heat pumps.
Meanwhile, the UK government is telling its trade negotiators to not let environmental concerns get in the way of post-Brexit deals, according to a leaked document.
The document, signed by the Department for International Trade, suggests the UK shouldn’t refuse a deal if other countries do not mention environmental safeguards in agreements.
The paper, first reported on by Sky News, showed department leaders said the “economic case” was more important when considering trade deals.
This is despite the fact that possible post-Brexit trade deals will have even smaller benefits than the biggest deal the government was hoping for with the US, which would have been less than 0.16 per cent of GDP over two decades.
Emily Thornberry, shadow international trade secretary, told Sky News: “It’s really shocking to see a document going round government where they’re essentially saying, ‘never mind about climate change, never mind about the environment.”
Thornberry also referenced UK’s current negotiations with Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro, who consistently sparked controversy over the Amazon forest deforestation.
She said the UK government document essentially says: “Bolsonaro is a difficult guy, if you want a trade deal from Brazil, and he wants to sell us stuff from a rainforest, we probably shouldn’t get in the way that much because otherwise we won’t end up with a trade deal’ – really?”
But a Department for International Trade spokesperson said “this is not government policy, and is not being considered by ministers.”Meanwhile, a new investigation by ITV News, Greenpeace Unearthed and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found some of UK’s most popular dairy brands are linked to deforestation in Brazil.