UK Net-Zero: What is our status?

By 26 February 2020 General

On the 27th June 2019, the UK government set a target of Net-Zero carbon emissions and legalised it.

This followed the original legislation, the Climate Change Act which came into force on 16th October 2008. Which stated that greenhouse emissions would be cut by 80% by 2050 (in comparison to 1990 baseline emissions).

This is a key part of the government signalling its commitment to strengthening the UK’s pledge to fighting climate change.

We were the first economy in the world to set such a target and it’s an ambitious one.

This move followed publication of The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Climate Change report, which warned that the world had 12 years to curb its greenhouse gas emissions to avoid global warming reaching catastrophic levels.

We’re 8 months in. What kind of impact have we made so far?

How is it measured?

As highlighted, the Climate Change Act was a piece of legislation established in 2008. Following this legislation, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) was established.

The CCC reviews the UKs emissions annually and reports back to parliament. It assesses this using specific criteria and looks at various aspects, as highlighted on their website:

  • Emissions in an average unit of electricity.
  • Size of onshore and offshore wind farms at various stages of the project cycle.
  • Emissions from new cars and the rate of development in electric vehicles market.
  • The number of lofts and walls being insulated and boilers upgraded, including moves to low-carbon heat.
  • Progress of government policies such as grants for electric vehicles and Electricity Market Reform.

The government has also set targets for businesses in particular. The Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting regulations (SECR) will put sustainability under the corporate spotlight. It is mandatory for large companies to report on carbon emissions, energy use and energy efficiency actions through their annual reports. See full details in our past blog post here.

Progress?

If there is no struggle there is no progress and this target has definitely been a struggle and will continue to be so. It’s an ambitious goal and as such we’re going to have to work hard to fulfil it. In a parliamentary briefing paper our progress was graphically highlighted thus far and can be seen below (in million tonnes of CO2 by year). As displayed our emissions are clearly going down, but we have a long way to go. With current trajectories, we won’t reach our targets, so our efforts will need to be accelerated in order to fulfil our aims.


Source: House of Commons

We are all responsible for this target as residents of planet earth. To help with net-zero we should try to be as ‘green’ as we can in our everyday personal lives as well as at work. Organisations as a whole should set policies and procedures, as well as business practices to help with the target. But what exactly can they do?

  1. Consider installing onsite generation, especially solar and other renewable power. The IPCC has said that 70-85% of the world’s power will need to come from renewable sources by 2050. In addition to renewable energy solutions, you could consider high efficiency combined heat and power (CHP). These distributed energy technologies can also help businesses save money on their bills.
  2. Procure your energy from renewable sources. It is becoming more affordable to purchase energy from renewable energy sources, with wind and solar providing a rapidly increasing proportion of the UK power supply mix.
  3. Embrace energy efficiency– the cheapest and greenest unit of energy is the one you don’t use, so explore the many low and zero cost measures you can use to reduce consumption and improve your energy management.
  4. Use your people power. Energy awareness training can convert your employees into your energy-saving champions by helping them to understand their impact and how they can reduce unnecessary energy waste throughout your organisation.
  5. Consider how you might reduce emissions from your company vehicles. While the UK has made great progress in reducing carbon emissions from the energy supply network, transport is now the most polluting sector and has made little progress in reducing emissions.

At Utility Team we have experts in energy efficiency and green energy who can help your business work towards net-zero. We have interest funding available in our product the Revolving Green Fund.

Want to make sure your businesses is working towards a greener future? contact us today enquiries@utilityteam.co.uk / 02476 997 901

 

Article written by: Andrew Stoker, Business Development Manager