The UK is set on
reducing its emissions of greenhouse gasses to nothing by 2050. Achieving this
would make the UK the lowest emitters and cleanest country in the world. But is
it a realistic proposal?
It was recorded that
in the UK alone around 500 million tonnes of CO2 is being emitted
every year. The government has begun pushing to reduce this through guidance
from the Committee on Climate Change. A huge motive for reducing emissions
comes from a UN reports stating that CO2 emissions must be totally
stopped to avoid dangerous changes to the climate.
The UK’s climate
minister spoke to the BBC News and shared: “The report was a really stark
and sober piece of work — a good piece of work. Now we know what the goal
is, and we know what some of the levers are. But for me, the constant question
is: what is the cost and who’s going to bear that, both in the UK and in the
global economy. The question is: what does government need to do, where can the
private sector come in, and what technologies will come through?”
Vindis, who offer VW service deals, has shared the extent of this issue and
some of the ways emissions can be reduced.
Improve home insulation
BBC News stated in early 2017 that 80 per cent of the UK’s
CO2 emissions had to drop between then and 2050. They recorded that
a third of all of all the emissions had come from heating.
The Green Building
Council stated in Parliament that 25 million homes will not currently meet the standards
of insulation being enforced in 2050, and will need to be replaced to a much
higher standard. According to calculations, these findings mean that the rate
of refurbishment stood at a rate of 1.4 homes needing to be worked on every
minute as of the beginning of 2017.
On top of cutting
emissions, good insulation can lead to many more benefits. The Green Building
Council’s head Julie Hirigoyen explains: “People will have warmer homes
and lower bills; they will live longer, happier lives; we will be able to
address climate change and carbon emissions.
“We will also be
creating many thousands of jobs and exporting our best skills in innovation.”
Utilise low-carbon fuels
One method that is
already being adopted it using low carbon fuels. It is dependent on the public
and businesses to utilise this though, and it appears the nation is already
assisting in this area.
London and The Guardian, reported that the amount of renewable energy
in the UK surpassed the quantity of fossil fuels for the first time ever. With
the amount of renewable capacity trebling in the same five-year period that
fossil fuels decreased by one-third, the capacity of biomass, hydropower, solar
and wind power hit 41.9 gigawatts and the capacity of gas, coal and oil-fired
power plants recorded in at 41.2 gigawatts between July and September.
The research, carried
out by Dr Iain Staffell, noted that: “Britain’s power system is slowly but
surely walking away from fossil fuels, and [the quarter between July and
September] saw a major milestone on the journey.”
Once again, a record
was also set in 2018 in the UK where they managed to be without coal power for
three days, or 76 consecutive hours. This was before a report from Imperial
College London which was commissioned by Drax suggested that coal supplied only
1.3 per cent of Britain’s entire use of electricity during the second quarter
of 2018 — furnaces based at coal-fired power stations throughout the country were
completely unused for 12 days in June last year too.
Purchase fuel-efficient vehicles
New diesel and petrol
vans and cars will be banned across the UK from 2040.Despite many years still
to wait before this is enforced, it seems many Brits are already exploring what
alternative-fuel vehicles are out there e.g. LPG powered
Next Green Car reports that the registrations of new plug-in
cars have jumped from only 3,500 to over 195,000 in just the six years from
2013. Furthermore, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and
Traders highlighted that electric car sales across the UK has shifted from only
close to 500 being registered each month in the early part of 2014 to an
average of 5,000 per month throughout 2018.
The British road infrastructure
is improving as well and is able to hold more alternative-fuel vehicles, thanks
to ongoing private and government investment. While the UK’s network of
electric vehicle charging points was recorded in at just a few hundred units as
of 2011, there had been more than 5,800 charging locations, 9,800 charging
devices and 16,700 connectors installed by June 2018.
Despite only 6.84 per
cent of the UK car market being alternative-fuel vehicles, it seems that the
trend in their number is increasing. The UK is on the right track to heavily
reduce carbon emissions.
The ambition of
reaching an emission count of zero is admirable, but a huge challenge too.
Fortunately, some of the examples covered in this article do suggest that
efforts are being made to ensure the nation reaches its goal.