How will the UK reach its climate change goals?
With individuals, businesses and politicians united in concern for the environment, the UK has pledged to a long-term plan to reduce the country’s impact on climate change. The government has committed to a binding target that promises to cut emissions by 57 per cent by 2032, and while this seems like a very positive step, the actual details over how this target is going to be achieved have been sketchy at best.
It was only in late 2017 that the blueprint for strategy was revealed. Known as the Clean Growth Strategy, the 164-page document sets the plan for the changes that will need to be implemented if the UK is going to hit the target – there are more than 50 policies that will be brought into place ranging from energy savings and electric vehicles to keeping food waste away from landfills.
Here we take a look at some of the policies that the government is looking to introduce to see what they could mean for the country.
A push to green energy
It is no secret that if the UK wants to meet this target then it will need to invest heavily in renewable energy sources. This came out strongly in the report which revealed that a further £550m of subsidies will be guaranteed for the development of offshore windfarms. Ultimately, this could result in the country’s offshore wind capacity more than doubling.
The less popular onshore windfarms also received backing with the promise for support and amending the rules on how these developments can be subsidised with public money.
The proposal is also positive about solar energy. There are fantastic opportunities for businesses and those interested in commercial installations of panels. Large scale projects have the potential to be beneficial both to the country and the buyer – the report points out that the cost of solar cells has been driven down by 80 per cent since 2008.
The report also encourages the creation of new nuclear power stations with the caveat that developers should only build at prices that are sensible and competitive.
Energy efficient homes
Another major part of the plan is to promote energy efficiency in for both domestic properties and businesses. The report sets out a target to ensure all houses are brought to a minimum of energy band C by 2035. However, there are few details on how this will be achieved other than there will be a need for greater insulation.
More needs to be done
Despite the huge range of policies, the strategy admits that the UK is not currently on track to meet its target. There are elements within the document that indicate there is room for improvement – for example there is minimal detail on how the UK will cut emissions from heating. Heat pumps such as ground source heat pumps are good options as they use eco-friendly gases such as hydrogen.
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