Read about the state of climate emergency
“Scotland declares ‘climate emergency’!”
“Programme for Government: next steps to tackle climate change!”
Read on to learn more about the targets that have been set, how they affect you and your business / organisation, and how TRE can help you to respond to the challenges of the #climateemergency.
The “warming stripes” above (#showyourstripes) show how temperatures in Scotland have increased over the last 34 years. Across the UK, this message is finally gaining traction. In May 2019, the UK’s Climate Change Committee issued its report “Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming”, setting a target of 100% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Around the same time, the UK and Scottish Governments declared a Climate Emergency5. Similar declarations had already been made by a number of councils, and by the end of July 2019, more than half of the UK’s local authorities had declared, making it one of the fastest growing environmental movements in recent history6.
To start making progress towards Net Zero, these high-level declarations need to be followed up by much more detailed targets, plans, regulations and commitments at national and local authority level. We need to understand the different sectors that drive the total emissions, as each sector has different challenges and potential solutions. If we look at where we are now, and where we need to get to, we can see that in some areas, such as electricity, we are making good progress, especially in Scotland:
However, electricity is less than a quarter of our energy use: the largest share of energy is used for heating (52%):
Decarbonisation heating is arguably much more challenging, and in the UK, we have a long way to go:
Digging down, we see that the Core Scenario in Net Zero report has some ambitious targets: low-carbon heat should be used in 80% of existing homes, and in 100% of non-residential buildings, by 2050.
So how do we get there? The Net Zero report sets out a transition pathway for each sector with short-term “2020s” actions where proven technology is available and projects can and should be aggressively pursued starting now. For heating, these include heat pumps, heat networks and building efficiency.
The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan – Proposals and Policies 2018-2032 focuses on these 2020s actions. Its key policy to reduce emissions from buildings – Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) – aims to improve energy efficiency and support decarbonisation of heating.
Various initiatives including grants and loans already exist to assist and incentivise individuals, companies and public sector bodies to consider low carbon heating solutions.
TownRock Energy is well versed in these schemes and has helped a number of clients to access funds that make their projects more attractive. If the UK and Scottish governments maintain their commitment to 80% / 100% low carbon heating by 2050, then we can expect additional, possibly stronger, regulations and incentives to be enacted. One example of this is the UK government’s statement in March 2019 that no new homes are to be fitted with gas boilers after 20258.