The UK is driving forward in the race to reduce our carbon footprint, thus saving the world from a penultimate environmental disaster. School children protest, Greenpeace block the entrances to the BP head offices, parliament declared a climate change emergency and an extinction rebellion occupies major landmarks as well as commonly seen slogans such as ‘There is no planet B’ highlighting the strong opinion of the public. It all leads us to ask…is carbon zero even a possibility?
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) think that’s what the UK should be aiming for, they have suggested a target of 2050 and they think it is feasible… ‘A net-zero GHG target for 2050 will deliver on the commitment that the UK made by signing the Paris Agreement. It is achievable with known technologies, alongside improvements in people’s lives, and within the expected economic cost that Parliament accepted when it legislated the existing 2050 target for an 80% reduction from 1990.’ A statement which they highlighted in their recent report Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming.
But it’s only a possibility if we follow strict policies and procedures across the country which need to be enforced by the government. From public opinion on governmental policies and past experience with important issues such as Brexit it could look unlikely that these policies will be observed, adhered to and followed.
The Paris Agreement may, however, be the driving force the UK needs to steer us onto the green path. Not quite sure what the Paris Agreement is? ‘….on the 12 December 2015, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached a landmark agreement to combat climate change and to accelerate and intensify the actions and investments needed for a sustainable low carbon future.’
The Climate Change Act will also be a spearhead in helping us achieve our targets. A parliamentary law enforcing a reduction of greenhouse gases, this act came into force in 2008. But what has it done since then? Friends of the Earth highlight that ‘The UK has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 43% since 1990 and delivered on its first 2 carbon budgets.’ since the act was created and ‘the most significant emissions cuts have occurred in the power sector. Here emissions fell by 59% between 2008 and 2017 as the share of low-carbon generation rose from 20% to 52%. That rise came from the rapid growth of offshore and onshore wind and solar benefiting from government measures to support renewable energy and to close down coal-fired power stations.’ A positive review of our performance so far.
The graph below from the Financial Analyst provides a clear visual of current and future expectations of whether we’ll achieve carbon zero. Historical emissions are shown in the shaded area.
From what we can see the UK is making excellent progress in our efforts to reach this monumental target. Although our progress may seem shaky, we were the first major economy to legislate our intentions and so it seems have the drive and ambition to achieve these from a government perspective. But this isn’t just about parliament, the public will also feel the metaphoric pinch of the greenhouse belt, Bloomberg directs us ‘British people need to fly less, drive electric cars, eat little meat and turn their home thermostats down to 19 degrees Celsius (66 Fahrenheit) in order to rein in greenhouse gases damaging the planet.’.
In conclusion, from the articles mentioned earlier, the general consensus from the public voice, is one that encourages, drives and gives us the passion and strive to make it happen. Combined with governmental efforts; legislation in the form of The Climate Change Act and agreements to policies such as the Paris Agreement, the future is looking bright and green.
Do you want to play your part in reaching the carbon footprint target? Utility Team have a number of measures your business could utilise to not only help your company go green but save you money as well. Our Revolving Green Fund is also available to provide interest-free upfront funding to businesses for energy efficient initiatives/technologies. Contact us today, email email@example.com or call 02476 997901.
Article written by: Scott Harries, Business Development Manager