The UK has set itself the goal of achieving “net zero emissions” by the year 2050 — and that will require some serious new spending, according to a government report cited by The Guardian. The report, authored by analysts at Vivid Economics, estimates that the cost of lowering the UK’s current carbon dioxide emissions of up to 130 million tons per year to zero may end up costing up to £20 billion annually (although it’s worth emphasizing that is the high end of the estimates).
- Major investments will be needed to overhaul carbon-intensive industries including aviation, agriculture, and manufacturing, with the need becoming especially urgent in the 2030s and 2040s as the target deadline approaches.
- Additional government investments are recommended in developing carbon capture technology, which will probably require significant subsidies, grants and other incentives. Removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is projected to cost between £160 and £470 per ton.
- A less costly option is restoring natural habitats, which could remove up to five million tons of carbon dioxide a year at a cost between £8 and £78 per ton.
- The project cost is the high end of a range and it will come after a steady rise spread over several decades, from £1 billion to £2 billion in 2030 to anywhere between £6 billion to £20 billion in 2050.