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Net Zero: A systems perspective on the climate challenge
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s National Engineering Policy Centre has set up a working group to develop a shared vision across the engineering profession for decarbonising the UK. Mark Apsey, who succeeded me as Chair of the ChemE’s Energy Centre, is a member of the group, representing the chemical engineers.

Over the next 18 months, the group will identify actions this parliament can take to lay the foundations for achieving its net zero target by 2050. It will gather evidence, provide a forum for debate, publish briefing papers, and seek to stimulate debate across society.

The working group has identified a series of priority topics to advise government on, including how to recover from Covid-19 with net zero in mind; decarbonising construction; skills and training implications; and addressing climate change through decentralised systems planning.

Professor Simons states: “The UK has less than 1,600 weeks to meet the target of net zero territorial emissions; it is a massive undertaking,” the group writes in its opening report. “It will involve simultaneous transformation of several vital, interconnected infrastructure systems: from transport and housing, to energy and manufacturing. It requires developing whole new industries to maturity and supporting sweeping societal, cultural, behavioural and structural change. A strong government-led vision for 2050 is needed now to drive coordinated, achievable action across all parts of society and government, with urgency and ambition.”

A paper introducing the NEPC’s approach to developing the shared decarbonisation vision can be found here: