Here, SEAT servicers, Vindis, examine the various areas amendments which have been made, and what needs to be done to help Britain hit net zero
Thanks to the fact the UK was producing more than 500 million tonnes of CO2 on an annual basis, the government sought help from the Committee on Climate Change in how they could actively tackle the harming contribution to global warming. The decision has been reached that CO2 emissions must be entirely stopped by the year 2050 in order to prevent further damaging effects. For this reason, there are now plans for the UK to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the time we reach 2050, in a move that would see it take the accolade of being the cleanest country across the globe.
The UK’s climate minister, Claire Perry, pointed out to BBC News: “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?”
Low carbon fuel alternatives
The Imperial College London reported statistics regarding the capacity of renewable energy in the UK surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time. 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.
Iain Staffell, the Dr which conducted the research for Imperial College London, pointed out: “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.”
In early 2018, a record was set — the UK managed to be powered without coal for three days in a row (the official time stood at 76 consecutive hours). This was before a report from Imperial College London which was commissioned by Drax suggested that coal supplied only 1.3% 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.
Vehicle fuel efficiency
In a bid to reduce the emissions that the nation is producing, the UK government has announced its plans to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles. This has been highlighted by Next Green Car reporting that the number of new registrations of plug-in cars jumped from just 3,500 in 2013 to over 195,000 as of the end of January 2019. 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.
Despite the fact the introduction is more than two decades away, it appears that an increasing number of British motorists are already exploring what’s available when it comes to alternative-fuel vehicles e.g. LPG power.
UK infrastructure is certainly improving in line with the introduction of more electric vehicles, thanks to both sustained government and private 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.
Although we’re still a considerable time away from seeing the entire road fleet being powered by alternative fuels — the latest vehicle data from the SMMT stated that the car registrations market share for January 2019 was 64.08% petrol, 29.08% diesel and 6.84% alternative-fuel vehicles, for example — but it appears that things are at least moving in the right direction.
A BBC News article from February 2017, highlighted the fact the UK was needing to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent between the date that the piece was published and 2050. What’s more, a third of those carbon emissions had been recorded from heating draughty buildings across the nation.
The Green Building Council, however, — a group of leading construction firms — stated in a report sent to Parliament that 25 million existing homes will not currently meet the insulation standards being enforced in the mid-century and will need to be refurbished to the highest standards. 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.
Carrying out this work has considerably more benefits other than simply reducing emissions. 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.”
Despite many sceptics suggesting that these plans are unachievable, the aforementioned plans and changes which have been implemented certainly make for positive reading.