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Zero carbon emissions by 2030 ‘unlikely’

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IT will be ‘extremely challenging’ for Jersey to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2030, the Environment Minister has said.

Environment Minister John Young Picture: Tony Pike(24469708)

Deputy John Young said hitting the target was likely to require investment in ‘carbon sinks’ such as wood and grassland areas outside the Island.

He was responding to a proposition lodged earlier this year by Deputy Rob Ward, calling for Jersey to aim for carbon-neutrality by 2030 and for minsters to produce a climate-impact assessment in next year’s government plan to help achieve this.

Carbon-neutrality is when organisations, businesses or individuals remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they put into it.

Environment Minister John Young has lodged an amendment to Deputy Ward’s proposition, instead asking his department to:

  • Assess how Jersey could become carbon-neutral by 2030 and draw up a plan as part of a five-year review of the Island’s Energy Plan by the end of 2020.
  • Examine potential ‘ambitious policies’, including the use of ‘fiscal’ measures, to accelerate carbon reduction as part of the next government plan.

The report accompanying Deputy Young’s amendment says it is ‘very unlikely’ that Jersey will be able to reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2030 and investment in carbon-offset programmes, including off-Island projects, would probably be required.

‘On our current trajectory, and with successful implementation of our existing policies, by 2030 our emissions are projected to be 57% lower than 1990, and in the region of 267,000 tons of CO2 equivalents,’ he said.

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‘Even with more successful reduction policies, it is very unlikely that we could achieve neutrality through a cessation of the production of emissions in a decade. To achieve net-zero emissions, the unavoidable residual carbon emissions would need to be partly mitigated by an increase of natural on-Island carbon “sinks” like woodland and permanent grassland.

‘However, our limited land area means that the effect of localised mitigation would be extremely minimal and to reach neutrality we would likely need to purchase global carbon offsets.’

Deputy Young’s report adds, however, that he supports the ‘intention’ of Deputy Ward’s proposition and is keen to further investigate what carbon-neutral might mean for Jersey.

The proposition is due to be debated on 30 April. A similar proposition lodged by Deputy Ward calling for St Helier to aim for carbon-neutrality between 2025 and 2030 was approved by a parish assembly last month.

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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