How Can the UK Cut Their CO2 Emissions to Zero?

Posted on September 13, 2019 by Andrew

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.

Imperial College 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 vehicles.

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.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45856377

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/target-zero-uk-aims-to-cut-all-emissions-by-2050-bddfcwmd6

https://www.nextgreencar.com/electric-cars/statistics/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/06/uk-renewable-energy-capacity-surpasses-fossil-fuels-for-first-time

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/apr/24/uk-power-generation-coal-free-gas-renewables-nuclear

https://www.newstatesman.com/spotlight/energy/2018/08/coal-supplied-just-one-cent-britains-electricity-summer

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/scottish-power-wind-energy-renewable-drax-gas-station-climate-change-a8585961.html

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/661933/tsgb-2017-report-summaries.pdf

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/apr/26/carpooling-commuting-car-share-liftshare-uber

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings

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