The consequences of climate change are generally recognised, and measures have been agreed at the international level to tackle the issue. The Kyoto Protocol, which has been extended to Jersey, requires a reduction in carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. In May 2019 the States Assembly voted to declare a climate emergency and in February 2020 it agreed a Carbon Neutral Strategy. The agreed objective is to reduce emissions from the 1990 baseline level by 68% by 2030 and by 78% by 2035 with net zero emissions being achieved in 2050. Currently, 44% of emissions come from transport, 21% from residential buildings, 14% from business and 12% from energy production and distribution.
The Chief Minister’s Ministerial letters , published on 10 August 2022, included a letter to the Minister for the Environment the key part of which said –
I look forward to progress being made on improving water, air and soil quality, and the drive to reduce carbon emissions in line with our Carbon Neutral Roadmap and our obligations under the Paris Agreement. As you know, I am particularly keen on renewable energy as a power source, and getting homes insulated. The move to carbon free transport will also need to be accelerated. I look forward to you collaborating with the Minister for Infrastructure on this issue.
The Ministerial plans for 2024, published on 19 September 2023, included a chapter for the Minister for the Environment which set out as one of his priorities –
Tackling the climate emergency by reducing Jersey’s carbon emissions in line with our net-zero target and improve our resilience to the impacts of climate change by:
- delivering the first phase of the carbon neutral roadmap including a focus
on the decarbonisation of heating buildings and road transport through a just transition
- reviewing the operation and governance of the Island’s energy market to ensure a safe and just transition from a reliance on hydrocarbons; and working with Jersey Electricity to ensure the readiness of the grid for accelerated electrification
- continuing to develop the necessary consenting regimes and frameworks to enable utility-scale offshore renewable energy generation
The Carbon Neutral Strategy and Carbon Neutral Road Map
The Carbon Neutral Strategy , agreed in February 2020, set out the context for the strategy and five guiding principles to Jersey’s approach to carbon neutrality -
1 A strategic focus on all emissions
2 Work within a definition of carbon neutrality
3 High standards in the use of carbon offsetting
4 Making sure that everyone can play their part
5 Carbon neutrality policies do not overall increase income inequality
In April 2022 the States Assembly agreed the Carbon Neutral Road Map . This sets out five strategic policies –
1. Jersey’s net-zero emissions pathway. It is stated that this will –
- At a minimum reduce emissions by 68% compared to the 1990 baseline by 2030, and reduce them to 78% from baseline by 2035.
- Deliver zero net emissions by 2050.
- Stay in line with and respond to further evidenced changes in science-based Island energy market global emissions reductions targets that are needed to limit global warming to 1.5%c
2. Island energy market. The summary states –
There are a number of available and emerging non-fossil hydrocarbon products and new energy sources that are entering the marketplace in all sectors. They will reach maturity and commercial availability over the next three decades and have the potential to contribute to Jersey’s decarbonisation journey. Some new products, particularly biofuels, are direct substitutes for existing fossil-hydrocarbons making transition simpler assuming supply and demand align, and prices are competitive enough to encourage uptake.
There will be a need to accommodate changes to our energy system in the future, as products change and with increased potential to democratise power generation, distribution, and storage.
There are challenges to bring new energy sources to the Island where they require new infrastructure and supply lines (for example, hydrogen).
We expect to see a decentralisation of electricity generation in the forthcoming decades, and we will need to consider the impact of this on our current electricity market and infrastructure.
As the cost of generating utility scale (offshore) renewable energy falls, we might want to consider investment to provide the Island with energy sovereignty and resilience. Jersey participates in the British Irish Council energy work stream where it is represented alongside England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the other Crown Dependencies. Jersey is represented on a number of French working groups e.g., Ille et Vilaine, La Manche, where renewable energy is a key topic due to the development of the St Brieuc windfarm in French territorial waters. There will be increased coordination across the Channel Islands with recent discussions seeking to re-establish a Ministerial working group that will identify opportunities to work across the Islands to explore the opportunities for marine renewable projects.
Responding to these related challenges requires a clear and long-term government led energy strategy with clear and accountable political leadership. A new ministerial portfolio for energy and climate change is recommended to oversee the planned energy market review, which will need to ensure our statutory and regulatory framework remains fit-for-purpose in a new energy future to balance energy affordability, sustainability, and security of supply issues.
3. A financing strategy which sets out a timetable for bringing forward proposals with principles including that policies do not increase income inequality and proper processes.
4. Policy programme and development which is about the mechanisms to deliver the road map.
5. Becoming carbon neutral, which repeats the principles in the Carbon Neutral Strategy.
The Road Map includes a Delivery Plan 2022-25, which is a mixture of -
- new policy interventions, including new incentive schemes to support Islanders to transition to lower carbon technologies
- commitments to introduce or amend regulations, such as to require greater energy efficiency in our buildings and heating systems
- new targets, to focus action across the Island, such as the ambition to make Jersey a centre of excellence for Blue Carbon research and industries
- confirmation of future milestones, such as the requirement to decide, by 2028, if – having made substantial reductions in its emissions - Jersey needs to purchase offsets to reach a carbon neutral position
The following specific points were listed for 2022 –
- Bring forward a proposal to subsidise the rate of fuel duty charged on second generation renewable diesel by approximately 32 PPL
- Second generation renewal diesel phased into government of Jersey fleet
- Publish a sustainable transport road map
- Implement further active travel initiatives
- Provide a subsidy to households and businesses to transition to low-carbon heating systems
- Implement a new net zero rural economy strategy and marine economy strategy
- Explore opportunities for carbon capture from the existing electricity from waste plant
- Establishing a decarbonization unit in government
For 2023 the following points were listed –
- From 1 January 2023 owners of electric vehicles will have the option of displaying a number plate with a green marker
- The decarbonization unit will set quantified emissions reductions targets in departmental operational business plans.
On 18 July 2023 the Government published Carbon Neutral Roadmap Progress Report . This does not report progress against the specific targets in the Roadmap but rather reports progress generally. The accompanying press release reported that “among the many milestones, outlined in the report, are:
- The launch of the low carbon heating incentive in May 2023 which supports Islanders with funding to help make the switch from oil or gas heating systems to low carbon alternatives and helps make buildings more energy efficient. It includes a new Contractor Quality Scheme for heat pump and other low carbon heating system installers to build on green skills and market capacity.
- The e-bike incentive scheme was launched in January 2023. More than £32,000 worth of vouchers have so far been redeemed. The third quarterly application window is currently open.
- The establishment of the Decarbonising Government Unit, with more than 250 of the Government of Jersey’s diesel vehicles now converted to Second Generation Renewable Diesel. The Government’s fleet also now features more than 70 electric vehicles.
- Active travel initiatives to date have included School Streets (at St Luke’s School) and the Love to Ridecampaign, which has achieved some of the highest take-up figures in the British Isles.
- Continued close working with industry through the eco active business network and new initiatives such as the Sustainable Construction Summit .
- Progress on delivering the COP26 Education Pledge to improve education on climate change, and the successful delivery of low carbon lifestyles campaigns, with an initial focus on waste reduction.”
The government website has a page The Journey to Carbon Neutral