News Article | April 17, 2017
It was recently reported that UK emissions are now as low as they were when Queen Victoria was in power. That's an incredible achievement. And given the very real societal, environmental and economic costs of climate change and air pollution, it's an achievement that should easily pay for itself even if energy bills rise as a result. But here's the thing: The low carbon transition hasn't actually pushed up bills. As Business Green reports, analysis from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has revealed that while the direct costs of subsidizing renewables and energy efficiency programs have added £9 (around US$11 in post-Brexit Britain) per month to the average household energy bill in 2016. But that added cost was more than offset by a £20 decrease attributed to increased energy efficiency gains—gains that have in large part been supported by the subsidies for efficiency. This is very good news. While pro-fossil fuel special interests continue to decry the costs of going green, the fact is that an aggressive push for renewables and efficiency ought to help the average pocketbook. And that's before you even factor in the negative costs of pollution that'll disproportionately impact lower income communities. In many ways, it's the same story in the States. While car companies successfully lobby for gutting fuel efficiency standards—and cite upward pressure on car prices as justification—the real truth is that car prices are rising primarily because of gadgets, gimmicks and additional safety features. Consumer groups have been adamant that stricter fuel economy standards will help, not hurt, the average car buyer. James Murray, editor of Business Green, is unequivocal in his opinion of what reports like this mean for the green economy. And he directly contrasts this vision with the short-term, anti-environmentalist thinking which is prevalent in some parts of the world: "President Trump is continuing with his semantic-bending experiment to deliver clean air and water by torching air and water regulations. But Spring is coming, the sun is shining, and quietly, inexorably, the idea that a genuinely sustainable economy can be delivered is starting to look less like an environmentalist pipe dream and more like the inevitable by-product of an unstoppable technological revolution." Let's just hope we get there fast enough.
Agency: GTR | Branch: EPSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 5.75M | Year: 2013
We propose an End Use Energy Demand (EUED) Centre focused on Energy Epidemiology to be located at the multidisciplinary UCL Energy Institute (UCL-Energy), which undertakes research on energy demand and energy systems. Energy Epidemiology uses data and modelling to study energy use in the real world, with the aim of understanding the interactions of policy, technology, infrastructure, people and culture. The Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE) will: undertake primary data collection; advise on data collection; provide secure and ethical curation of a wealth of administrative, commercial and research data; link, develop and use innovative research methods; and support a structured research programme on energy demand intended to achieve a major reduction in UK carbon emissions. CEE will provide key research and policy insights at city, regional, national and international levels. It will support UK academics, policymakers and industry to research energy demand, by providing a cost-effective, secure and ethical bureau service for energy and related data. It will work closely with the new cross-government Energy Efficiency Deployment Office (EEDO) of DECC, the Energy Saving Trust, UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the new Open Data Institute (ODI) to marshal and maximise the value of existing and very large future sources of energy-related data (big data), ensuring the greatest impact for evidence-based energy demand research. The Centre will initiate and be a key player in an international network of energy epidemiologists, sharing research methods and undertaking cross-cultural comparisons of policies and technologies to reduce energy demand and to help the UK to meet its carbon targets. UCL-Energy: - has a clear focus on energy demand and its interaction with energy supply systems - this has been the core focus of UCL-Energy since its launch, with full UCL support, 35 months ago. - is multi- and interdisciplinary with lawyers, economists, social scientists, engineers, physicists, psychologists, architects, mathematicians and policy analysts co-located in open plan offices facilitating collaborative work. It has successfully worked with researchers from anthropology, English literature and history on energy demand problems. - makes an impact by supporting policy makers and industry to both set and achieve UK carbon targets. Examples of such support include the Green Deal, CCC budgets, smart meter rollout, and the development of products for reducing energy demand. UCL-Energy is the only university centre that has officially advised DECCs new EEDO, whose focus is squarely on EUED. - undertakes research of the highest quality; its staff were recognised as world leading by two successive EPSRC Platform Grant reviews. Roughly half its staff were submitted in the Built Environment UoA (30), for which UCL received the highest percentage (35%) of internationally leading staff (4*) in the UK. It holds the grant for the only Centre for Doctoral Training in energy demand. - is not sector-specific; it covers all energy uses and applies methods across sectors e.g. transport and buildings. - is managed as a coherent centre - this is facilitated by placing all staff under a single budget centre with a clear management structure. UCL-Energy is advised and guided by a prestigious International Advisory Board with CEOs and directors from leading companies around the world. - has leveraged a wide range of funding. From an initial UCL investment of £680k, it has so far raised £10m of external funding, including £2m from industry. - has strong leadership - its Director, Professor Tadj Oreszczyn has established a new academic department at UCL in less than 3 years, advises government at senior level, is on the boards of key organisations and has written several strategic papers on the future direction of energy demand research. - has critical mass and sustainability: UCL-Energy has 80 staff and PhD students
News Article | June 9, 2016
Carbon dioxide has been pumped underground and turned rapidly into stone, demonstrating a radical new way to tackle climate change. The unique project promises a cheaper and more secure way of burying CO2 from fossil fuel burning underground, where it cannot warm the planet. Such carbon capture and storage (CCS) is thought to be essential to halting global warming, but existing projects store the CO2 as a gas and concerns about costs and potential leakage have halted some plans. The new research pumped CO2 into the volcanic rock under Iceland and sped up a natural process where the basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. The researchers were amazed by how fast all the gas turned into a solid – just two years, compared to the hundreds or thousands of years that had been predicted. “We need to deal with rising carbon emissions and this is the ultimate permanent storage – turn them back to stone,” said Juerg Matter, at the University of Southampton in the UK, who led the research published on Thursday in the journal Science. Matter said the only thing holding back CCS was the lack of action from politicians, such as putting a price on carbon emissions: “The engineering and technology of CCS is ready to be deployed. So why do we not see hundreds of these projects? There is no incentive to do it.” The Iceland project has already been increased in scale to bury 10,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and the basalt rocks used are common around the world, forming the floor of all the oceans and parts of the land too. “In the future, we could think of using this for power plants in places where there’s a lot of basalt and there are many such places,” said Martin Stute, at Columbia University in the US and part of the research team. Testing has taken place in the Columbia River Basalts, extensive deposits in Washington and Oregon in the US. India, which has many polluting coal power plants, has huge basalt deposits in the Deccan Traps. One potential challenge for the new technique is that it requires large amounts of water: 25 tonnes for each tonne of CO2 buried. But Matter said seawater could be used, which would be in plentiful supply at coastal sites. Another is that subterranean microbes might break down carbonate to methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, but this was not seen in the Iceland research. The research, called the Carbfix project, took place at Iceland’s Hellisheidi power plant, the world’s largest geothermal facility. The plant pumps up volcanically heated water to run electricity-generating turbines but this also brings up volcanic gases, including carbon dioxide and nasty-smelling hydrogen sulphide. The researchers re-injected 230 tonnes of the gas, which was dissolved in water to prevent it escaping, down into the basalt to a depth of 400-500m. They used tracer chemicals to show that over 95% of CO2 was turned into stone within two years, “amazingly fast” according to Matter. Edda Aradottir, who heads the project for Reykjavik Energy, said: “It was a very welcome surprise.” The Iceland project has now begun scaling up to bury 10,000 tonnes of CO2 a year, plus the hydrogen sulphide which also turns into minerals. The Columbia University group are also investigating another rock type, found in Oman, which may be able to turn CO2 into rock even better than basalt. In conventional CCS, the CO2 is stored as a gas in sedimentary rocks such as exhausted oil fields under the North Sea. Unlike basalt, these rocks lack the minerals needed to convert CO2 into stone. Such sedimentary reservoirs could potentially leak and therefore have to be monitored, which adds to costs. They have also raised concerns from the public and projects on land in the Netherlands and Germany have been halted as a result. “In Europe you can forget about onshore CCS,” said Matter. Conventional CCS also requires the CO2 to be separated from the mix of gases emitted by power stations and industrial plants, which is expensive. But the basalt-based CCS does not require this. However, Matter said there would still be a role for conventional CCS in places where power plants are close to good reservoirs. Stuart Haszeldine, professor of CCS at the UK’s University of Edinburgh and not involved in the new research said it was promising: “This is terrific. It may well provide a low-cost and very secure remedy for parts of the world where the suitable rocks exist. [But] this needs to be used as well as all the existing propositions, because the problem to be solved of thousands of million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year in the world is immense and no single remedy is anywhere near big enough or fast enough.” The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that CCS is hugely important to tackling climate change in the most cost-effective way. Without CCS, the costs of halting global warming would double, the IPCC said, an assessment with which the UK government’s advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, agrees. However, the UK government cancelled a pioneering £1bn CCS competition in November. Globally, CCS has not developed as quickly as hoped, although some companies are using CO2 injection to drive more oil and gas from older fields. Haszeldine said there have been over 100 injections of CO2 gas in different countries worldwide since 1972, none of which are known to have leaked. Other innovative approaches to CCS are being explored, including an ExxonMobil-backed project using fuel cells to make capturing CO2 cheaper and one from Ford which uses CO2 to make foam for use in their vehicles. Groups are also working on chemical advances to capture CO2 more easily.
News Article | June 28, 2016
Despite choosing to exit the European Union through a referendum last week, the United Kingdom is still set to adopt a proposal for cutting fossil fuel-related pollution in the country by 2030 this week. According to reports, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) Secretary Amber Rudd is set to endorse a plan on how the UK government could reduce carbon emissions by as much as 57 percent below levels set in 1990 by the year 2032. The proposal is based on recommendations submitted by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) in November. Experts believe adopting the proposal would help ease concerns that the country may abandon its climate change policies as it leaves the EU. The UK government is already trying to work out how it will be able to handle burdens on its own. Nick Molho, an executive from an alliance of politicians, business leaders and nonprofit organizations known as Aldersgate Group, explained that one way for the government to manage the situation is by setting a budget immediately and adopting a detailed plan for reducing carbon emissions by the end of the year. Molho said that these two factors are crucial if the government wants to increase investment from the private sector in low carbon-producing technologies as well as to keep the cost of investment at a minimal. In its November report, the CCC said reducing carbon emissions in the UK by 57 percent is consistent with commitments the country made with other world governments. It would allow the UK to cut its total emissions by as much as 1.77 billion tons throughout the five-year period from 2028 to 2032. Rudd is expected to make her decision on June 30 to adopt the carbon budget submitted by the CCC and provide an explanation on deviations from the panel's recommendations, if there are any. The British government would then have to create a plan on how it expects to hit the target by the end of the year. Adopting the new target would help make sure that the UK is able to hit its long-term goal of cutting emissions by as much as 80 percent by 2050. The CCC considers this rate as an appropriate contribution to the international effort in order to prevent global temperatures from reaching 2 degrees Celsius. With the UK set to exit the EU, climate experts are concerned that it could have a significant impact on how the country will be able to hit its climate target by 2030 on its own. In 2014, leaders of EU member states had agreed to reduce fossil fuel pollution by at least 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. EU regulators are now expected to set individual goals for the remaining members of the union in July. European Commission climate spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen said the UK will remain a full member of the EU until talks on its exit are completed. Once the UK officially leaves, the union's remaining 27 member states will have to set their own individual climate targets. Climate experts believe these countries could increase their own targets to make up for the ones that will be lost with the UK's exit in order to maintain the 40 percent target they have set as a group. © 2016 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
News Article | February 23, 2017
Heathrow expansion can only be justified if the government proves it will not breach laws on climate change and pollution, MPs say. Ministers say a third runway will not exceed environment limits. However, the Commons Environmental Audit Committee has accused the government of "magical thinking" - wishing the problem away without a proper solution. They say ministers must show the expansion will not fuel climate change. Committee chair Mary Creagh told BBC News: "There's plenty of talk about how the government wants to solve environmental problems at Heathrow, but a total absence of any policy guarantees. "The implication of this is that they think other sectors of the economy like energy and industry are going to have to cut their carbon emissions even more so people can fly more - but the government's been told by its own advisors (the Committee on Climate Change) that's not possible." The MPs also criticised the government's reliance on a projected increase in electric vehicles on the roads to keep local air pollution within safe limits. "The government has missed already its targets for electric vehicles," Ms Creagh said. "Our committee has no confidence it will meet its target for 2020 or 2030. Ministers have got to put proper policies in place instead of relying on magical thinking." What are your solutions for air pollution? The committee previously urged a step change in the way the government tackles environmental issues at Heathrow, but says there is little evidence this has happened. The UK has already breached EU limits in London for the pollutant NO2 for 2017. The committee says a new air quality strategy is urgently needed to ensure that airport expansion does not harm public health. The government has said after Brexit that EU environmental laws will be imported wholesale into the UK, but the MPs say they have seen no guarantees that the government will keep pace with future EU air quality laws. The report calls on the ministers to implement an alert system for nearby residents who are especially vulnerable to short-term exposure to air pollution. On climate change, the MPs complain that international aviation emissions from an expanded Heathrow will be 15% higher than the level previously set for 2028-32. They say the government must show how the slack will be taken up by other sectors of the economy, which are already struggling to meet their own emissions targets. They say measures on noise lack ambition, with no precision on the timing of a night flight ban and little evidence that predictable respite can be achieved. The report was welcomed by John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the campaign group that opposes Heathrow expansion. "The government and Heathrow Airport have got to up their game big-time if they are to have any chance of getting a third runway," he said. "They have got to prove they can deliver on noise, climate and air pollution - not just say they can." The report comes just weeks after the government launched a public consultation on a third runway, which ends on 25 May. Later this year or early next year MPs are expected to be asked to vote on the runway. A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We take our air quality commitments extremely seriously and have been very clear that the new runway will not get the go-ahead unless air quality requirements can be met." The spokesman said the government has no plans to "water down" its ambitions on cutting aviation emissions and remains committed to meeting emission reductions targets under the Climate Change Act.
News Article | October 6, 2016
The last 18 months have been a major set-back in the British policy landscape affecting carbon emissions from buildings: the trajectory to zero carbon new build has been paused; Government support for Green Deal finance was withdrawn with no alternative mechanisms in place to encourage and enable investment by able-to-pay households; government announced that funding from the Energy Company Obligation will be reduced again; and a review of business energy taxes has led to proposals for a new tax structure but, as yet, no coherent supporting framework to encourage energy efficiency action. This is despite the fact that an increase in policy action is required: In June, the 5th Carbon Budget was adopted by Government setting firm carbon targets for the period from 2028 to 2032. Parliament approved them in July. Reaching those targets will require bold and ambitious policy action across all sectors. However, new research by the Association for the Conservation of Energy and the Regulatory Assistance Project paints a worrying picture of the UK’s prospects for achieving its carbon targets in the building sector: the Government’s own projections for abatement show that the UK will not meet the 5th Carbon Budget in buildings. Taken together, policies as they currently stand are projected by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to achieve a 21% cut in direct emissions from buildings by 2030 compared to 1990, just 12% below the ‘business as usual’ emissions for 2030. This means that the UK’s emissions from buildings will exceed those recommended by the Committee on Climate Change for the 5th Carbon Budget, in 2030, by 18%. Worryingly, a large part of the projected abatement from buildings (85%) is considered by the Committee on Climate Change to be ‘at-risk’, and after the vote to leave the EU there is uncertainty around which previously EU driven policies driven will remain. In other words, the majority of projected emissions abatement from buildings is seen as uncertain and may not be achieved. It may not be technically possible, and it is certainly not economical, to close this abatement gap in the power, transport and industrial sectors instead. Consequently, we need to de-risk, reform, extend and expand existing policies, but also introduce new instruments in order to speed up carbon abatement in the buildings sector. Additional regulatory policies such as Energy Efficiency Standards at point-of-sale (as is currently being implemented in France and considered in Scotland) are needed and new build standards need to be tightened towards zero carbon or nearly zero energy. Alongside, a substantial financing scheme offering low-interest loans is required to enable households and businesses to upgrade their properties and make them fit for a low-carbon future. Our research shows that the benefits of meeting the 5th Carbon Budget in buildings justify considerable public and private investment to capture them. We quantified the main costs and benefits generally considered for formal policy impact assessments, calculated in accordance with official guidance. The result is that the benefits exceed the costs to a similar degree as High Speed 2 (a planned high-speed railway linking London to the north of the UK) and the smart meter rollout. This means that there is a strong economic case for investing in upgrading the UK’s building stock. We estimate the net benefit from energy savings, emissions savings, improved air quality and health, and comfort and productivity to be in excess of £45bn. And this figure does not include the value of employment needed across the country to deliver the 5th Carbon Budget in buildings, the value of avoided gas imports and improved energy security, the GDP boost it would deliver nor the additional revenue it would generate for the public coffers. Ensuring this happens depends on the creation of a robust and long-term policy framework that supports the development of sustainable markets for low carbon retrofit and construction. The most strategic opportunity at which such a step-change can be signalled is in the forthcoming Carbon Plan; the Building Renovation Strategy due next spring also presents an opportunity. Pedro Guertler is Research Director for the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) Dr Jan Rosenow is a Senior Research Fellow for the Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, based in SPRU at the University of Sussex and a Senior Associate at the Regulatory Assistance Project
News Article | December 26, 2016
Major flooding in the UK is now likely to happen every year but ministers still have no coherent long-term plan to deal with it, the government’s leading adviser on the impacts of climate change has warned. Boxing Day in 2015 saw severe floods sweep Lancashire and Yorkshire, just weeks after Storm Desmond swamped Cumbria and parts of Scotland and Wales. The flooding, which caused billions of pounds of damage, led to the government publishing a review in September which anticipates 20-30% more extreme rainfall than before. But Prof John Krebs, who leads the work on adapting to global warming for the government’s official advisers, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC), told the Guardian: “We are still a long way from where we need to be, in that there is still not a coherent long-term view.” Lord Krebs said it was important for both government and households to learn from the run of floods that have affected many parts of the country in recent years. “Almost every year there has been some more or less major flooding event and that is a key message,” he said. “We have to now get it embedded that this is something that will happen somewhere most years.” Increased flooding is the biggest impact of climate change for the UK, but the CCC has also warned that the nation is poorly prepared for deadly annual heatwaves, water shortages and difficulties in producing food. However, Krebs, who is stepping down from his CCC role after eight years in January, said: “There is still hope this country will make the progress it needs to make.” Pressure to act now must continue from the CCC in its watchdog role and from the public, he said: “This is not something in the long-term future, this is something here and now. But it will also be worse for your children and grandchildren than it is for us, unless we do something about it. “At the extreme end, parts of the world could become uninhabitable and there could be mass migration,” Krebs said. “At the more modest end, we are likely to experience more extreme weather events in this country and we need to prepare for that.” Krebs also said ministers would regret cutting flood protection measures for new homes. New laws passed earlier in 2016 aim to drive the building of 1m new homes but Krebs, an independent member of the House of Lords, said he was disappointed ministers had rejected proposals to cut the risk of the homes flooding and make them cheap to heat. “The imperative to build more homes was overriding anything that might get in the way and I think the housebuilders got at the Department for Communities and Local Government to say all of this is going to be costly and difficult,” he said. “It isn’t [costly] really, but they just want to get on and build homes according to the bog-standard, simple template and not have to worry about whether the development is sustainable in terms of carbon footprint and flood risk. In 20 years time, people will look back and say, ‘What were they thinking?’” The CCC has also warned the government that there are no plans to deliver half of the cuts in carbon emissions needed in the 2020s, a caution Krebs likened to a yellow card. On the third runway at Heathrow, Krebs said the government had not been clear whether the plan meant carbon emissions from planes would remain under the limit recommended by the CCC. “Is it crazy [to build it]? We don’t know yet,” he said. But if the new Heathrow runway were built and the government stuck to the CCC limit, growth at other airports would be severely constrained, he said: “The big concern will be for the regional airports where there will be very little room for growth. So if Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh have aspirations, they may be dashed.” Krebs said rejection of human-caused climate change and its great risks – which he calls denial – is a “fringe discourse”, with 114 of the world’s nations already having ratified the global climate deal signed by 194 countries in Paris a year ago. But he said: “We shouldn’t be complacent because those dissenting voices are well-organised, funded and persistent. One has to be strong in the message that the risks are so great that taking out insurance [by acting] now is well worth it.”
News Article | November 22, 2016
Natural flood defences, such as allowing trees to fall into rivers, have protected homes in Somerset from the torrential rain brought by Storm Angus. The success came as it was revealed that natural ways of cutting flood risk have no current government funding, despite ministers repeatedly backing the idea. Heavy rains saw the rivers above the village of Bossington rise rapidly on Monday, but the 100 homes placed at risk avoided flooding. The catchments of the rivers, all part of the National Trust’s Holnicote estate, had natural flood prevention measures put in place in 2013. The trust’s Nigel Hester, who managed the project, said it had been a close call but thinks the natural flood protection saved the homes. “We were hit really hard and it got very close,” he said, with water rising to within inches of the top. “I would say we were storing in excess of 20,000 cubic metres and if you added that to what was going downstream, it must have made a big difference.” The natural measures included allowing trees to fall into the rivers to slow water flow, blocking old drainage channels on the hills and using fields to temporarily store water. The project, which cost just £160,000 in capital works, cuts the flood peak by 10% and protects £30m of property. In April the results of a £500,000 tree-planting project showed it had helped the Yorkshire town of Pickering avoid last winter’s floods. A cross-party committee of MPs concluded earlier this month that natural ways of stopping floods must be a key part of protecting the nation as climate change intensifies rain storms. But freedom of information requests from Friends of the Earth revealed on Monday that there is no government funding for natural flood protection, despite the environment secretary, Andrea Leadsom, stating in late October: “I fully support natural defence initiatives such as planting trees, which can slow the flow of water.” Guy Shrubsole at Friends of the Earth, said: “Holnicote shows what can be achieved by working with nature to reduce flood risk, for very little money. Communities fearing flooding deserve better - it’s time the government’s warm words were matched with hard cash.” Daniel Johns, an official government adviser at the Committee on Climate Change, said funding could be given as soon as Wednesday, in the autumn statement. He tweeted: “Government has only allocated half of the £700m extra floods money announced in 2016 Budget … can expect autumn statement to allocate some to NFM [natural flood management].” A Defra spokesman said: “We’re committed to better protecting the country from flooding and natural flood management plays an important role in our strategy. We’re spending a record £2.5bn on flood defences to better protect 300,000 more homes by 2021 and many of these projects are already using natural flood management measures.” The government was also criticised on Tuesday after railway lines to the south-west were cut off after flash flooding, a type of flooding not considered as part of the government’s National Flood Resilience Review. Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “The review was set up to report so that immediate measures could be taken to protect infrastructure against flooding this winter. “It was originally due for publication in June but was delayed until August, leaving less time for implementation. But more importantly, the review ignored the threat from surface water flooding, against the advice of experts who were consulted.” Ben Bradshaw, the Labour MP for Exeter, said: “There have been lots of grandiose promises in recent years – following previous severe flooding and the rail line dropping into the sea in Dawlish – of investment to tackle this. Very few if any of these promises have so far come to fruition.”
News Article | March 19, 2016
The UK government will be enshrining the net-zero emissions climate change goal that resulted from the COP21 talks in Paris into law, following advice from the Committee on Climate Change, according to recent reports. The news was revealed by the UK’s Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom to the House of Commons earlier this week. Leadsom commented that the government was working to “build on the momentum of Paris” — and also that a plan for the means of putting the net-zero emissions goal into law would be forthcoming sometime later in 2016. The implication of this all is that the UK’s legal target for emissions reductions will be increased from an 80% reduction (as compared to 1990 levels) by the year 2050 to a net-zero target by the same date. “The government believes that we will need to take the step of enshrining the Paris goal for net-zero emissions in UK law,” stated Leadsom. “The question is not whether but how we do it. There is an important set of questions to be answered before we do. The Committee on Climate Change is looking at the implications of the commitments in Paris and has said it will report in the Autumn. We will want to consider carefully the recommendations of the Committee.” To become truly “net-zero” the UK would need to somehow completely decarbonize sectors such as agriculture, heating, and transportation. Not a simple task to do so, while still remaining internationally competitive. Of course there are a number of loopholes still in place for many industries (with regard to carbon emissions accounting), and who knows if they will ever be done away with, so it’s hard to say what “net-zero” really means in his instance. Image by @Doug88888 (some rights reserved) Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.” Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.
News Article | September 14, 2016
New figures have shown that Scotland met its 2014 emissions reduction target, outpacing the United Kingdom as a whole in both 2014 and overall since 1990 — but experts believe there is still a lot of work to be done. According to figures published in a new report this week for the Scottish Government by the UK’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC), Scotland met its 2014 emissions reduction target, with emissions including international aviation and shipping falling by 8.6% in 2014. Conversely, the United Kingdom as a whole only managed to reduce its emissions by 7.3% in 2014, and since 1990, gross Scottish emissions have fallen nearly 40%, compared to the UK’s nearly 33%. Net emissions show an even more impressive story for Scotland, falling 13% in 2014 down to 41.886 MtCO2e — 5.1 MtCO2e below the target set by the country in 2009, and bringing its emissions down 45.8% below 1990 levels. This puts the country well on track to meet its 2020 interim target of reducing emissions by 42% below 1990 levels, on its way to cutting emissions by at least 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The report, Reducing emissions in Scotland — 2016 progress report, is the CCC’s fifth report on Scotland’s progress toward meeting its emission reduction targets, and lays out the progress that has been met already and the action needed to stay on track. The authors note that Scotland is making good progress over a number of areas, and in many cases is leading the UK as a whole. Deployment both at a utility-scale and at community- and local-scale have seen impressive progress, and the country’s energy efficiency policy is described as “well developed, especially compared to that in England.” “Scotland continues to lead the UK both in performance and ambition when it comes to tackling climate change,” explained Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change. “Emissions are reducing and the latest targets have been hit. Scotland has set out its intention to meet the challenges of climate change and its contribution to the ambition agreed at the Paris climate conference last December. New policies are now required for Scotland to continue its commendable path to decarbonising its economy.” However, the Committee on Climate Change tempered its enthusiasm and praise for Scotland’s efforts by reminding that there is still much more that needs to be done if Scotland is to meet its high ambition and tighter targets extending beyond 2020. There is a need for stronger policies in the upcoming Climate Change Plan which is set to be published in the next few months, which will look to introduce policies intended to tackle reducing greenhouse gas emissions in key sectors. Such policy recommendations made by the CCC include: The following infographic was published by the Committee on Climate Change, explaining how greenhouse gas emissions are reducing in Scotland. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store! Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.