According to MPs, the government should promote homes that are energy-efficient and support new solar and onshore wind power if the UK wants to hit its legally binding 2050 net-zero carbon target.
A lack of government policies
In a recent report, the Science and Technology Select Committee criticised the lack of government policies in place to deliver the UK’s carbon reduction targets. They believe that urgent action is required to put the trend of “cutbacks and slow progress” in reverse.
The cross-party of MPs has outlined 10 “clean growth” measures that should fill the policy gap. This includes the promotion of building homes that are energy-efficient, repowering onshore wind farms and introducing a planned ban on new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2035.
Norman Lamb, chair of the science and technology committee, said: “Parliament has declared a climate emergency. The worrying effects of climate change, such as heatwaves, wildfires and flooding are already occurring at an alarming rate and will have a huge impact on future generations.
“Throughout our inquiry, it was worrying to hear that although the Government may be ambitious when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it is not putting the policies in place which are needed to achieve those targets. We need to see the Government put its words into actions.”
Failing to meet targets
According to the findings from the report, despite the government’s claims to be a world-leader on reducing carbon emissions, the UK is failing to meet its current emission targets. As a result, the target of net zero by 2050 is looking even less likely.
Over the past 10 years, MPs have discovered that the government has cancelled its zero-carbon homes policy. What’s more, business rates on solar panels have increased and it has become increasingly difficult to obtain planning permission for onshore wind farms.
MPs discovered many other instances in which the rollout of low-carbon technologies has been delayed, cut back or undermined by government policies.
According to the committee, the government should make certain initiatives a priority, from introducing more incentives for energy efficiency in the home to trialling new heating technologies. They also believe the government should be making plans to repower existing wind farms by the end of 2020.
On top of this, MPs have urged the government to better plan the reduction of vehicle emissions. Rachel White, head of public affairs at the sustainable travel charity Sustrans, said: “Transport is the only sector where CO2 emissions are rising as our reliance on motor vehicles remains at an all-time high.
‘If we are to help everyone travel more sustainably and reduce harmful emissions, as the report says, we need to make it easier for more people to replace trips that they currently make by car with walking and cycling.’
According to a spokesperson for the government, the UK is going “further and faster” to fight climate change than any other major economy and said: “From transport to heating, electricity to agriculture, we are working to put in place the right measures to help us tackle global warming. We welcome the committee’s report and will consider its findings.”
What you can do
While the government isn’t quite up to scratch with reducing emissions, experts in the industry can do their bit to create change. With a range of renewable energy courses from ECTA, you can help homeowners live more sustainably. Get in touch to find out more.