If there’s one thing that unites the UK’s climate campaigners and their critics, it’s the belief that getting to net zero by 2050 won’t be easy. With fresh analysis from Carbon Brief showing the country is already more than half way to achieving this target (or almost half way when accounting for the temporary impacts of Covid19) it begs the question: is getting to zero a whole lot easier than we think? A decade ago about 40% of the country’s electricity came from coal and just 3% from wind and solar. By 2020, thanks to big policy reforms under successive governments, these numbers had reversed. In just a decade, emissions have fallen by almost a third. There are compelling reasons for optimism that a similar transformation is speeding along in the car market. The Prime Minister’s decision to end new petrol and diesel sales by 2030 could alone deliver two thirds of the carbon cuts we need in the next decade under the Climate Change Act. Heating emissions, which are roughly comparable in size to carbon from cars. New research from Oxford’s Jan Rosenow suggests heat pumps are going the same way as wind farms and electric cars, and that with smallish changes to the energy market they could soon be cheaper than gas boilers. The heat pump installation rate recently doubled in Poland and jumped 40% in Germany where more than a million have now been fitted. A private briefing paper for clean energy investors claimed there will be a 470% increase in UK heat pump installation by 2030 without any new policies, although the government is likely to set out a plan to boost uptake in the forthcoming net zero review, given its target for a 25-fold increase in the next six years. Private money is already moving behind this new market, driven by these anticipated policies and the future homes standard, which bans gas boilers in new houses from 2025.
Joss Garman 31st March 2021 read more »
In a significant challenge to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, several leading climate scientists have said a recent ruling it made on the expansion of London’s main airport, Heathrow, will cause serious damage to the global environment, urging it to rule that the government must respect the 1.5°C limit internationally agreed to rein in global heating. Almost 150 lawyers, academics and policy-makers from around the world have written to the court, urging it “to mitigate the profound harm” which they say will be caused by its judgement allowing the government to go ahead with its plans to expand Heathrow. They add: “Recklessly ignoring the spirit and letter of the law of the Paris Agreement sends a message to the world that the UK has joined the ranks of the climate wreckers, betraying the world’s vulnerable countries and communities.” Signatories include the government’s own former chief scientist, Sir David King; Dr James Hansen, the former NASA scientist once hailed as one of the “true giants” of climate science; and Dr Jeffrey Sachs, the economist and former advisor to three United Nations Secretaries-General.
Climate News Network 1st April 2021 read more »