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Climate Change

Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

National Grid’s Climate Commitment

We know that helping society to decarbonize is the biggest contribution we can make to the environment. As an infrastructure business, our day-to-day activities also result in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  We know that we can save money and help combat climate change by reducing our GHG emissions. This will strengthen our company by reducing costs and making our business fit for the future.

In Our Contribution, we set ourselves a target to reduce our emissions by 80% by 2050, and 45% by 2020, from a 1990 baseline. We have far exceeded our 2020 target, reducing our emissions by 70% already. 

This has been achieved through a range of initiatives across the UK and US business, backed up by specific internal targets. We have applied carbon pricing to our investment decisions and reduced the carbon intensity from our construction schemes. Other emission reduction activities include programs to replace leaking gas pipes, modernizing the electricity transmission infrastructure to reduce energy losses, and increasing the energy efficiency of the consumer energy use in the US.

Next steps and our Responsible Business Charter

We are proud of what we have achieved to date, but there is much more we can do. We believe we have a responsibility to lead the way and help drive emissions down across the energy sector. That is why, after reviewing our emissions targets, we have decided to further our commitments and ambitions in our Responsible Business Charter, with a target to achieve net zero by 2050, alongside interim targets of reducing our footprint by 80% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, from a 1990 baseline.

In the UK, our Electricity Transmission business has set a target to achieve carbon neutral construction by 2026 on all projects, whilst Gas Transmission are applying this to all major projects. The Electricity System Operator has also committed to be able to fully operate Great Britain’s electricity system with zero carbon by 2025.

In the US, all our major projects utilize carbon pricing in the evaluation of alternative options. In 2021 we developed a baseline carbon intensity for such projects and set reduction targets in 2022. What are we doing to be a responsible business? What are society’s expectations, and how are we living our vision, purpose and sharing our values to achieve these goals? Our Responsible Business Charter is split into five sections (our environment, our communities, our people, our governance and the economy) where we dive deep into our commitments and the steps we are taking as a company to serve our worldly community and ecosystem.

This will require some big engineering and strategic changes. We have set a number of global emissions targets to address some key areas, including insulating gases (SF6), our operational fleet, office energy use, business air travel and emissions from the electricity and gas we sell to our customers. We will continue to implement carbon pricing on our investment decisions and continuously review our performance across the business.