Plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero welcomed
A plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the UK to almost zero by 2050 announced last week has been welcomed by Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox.
“Although it is a huge challenge, I am delighted that Britain is the first nation to propose this target,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science Innovation Park. “I hope the rest of the EU will match this pledge.”
MPs have already agreed to reduce emissions by 80 per cent under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but this will now be amended to the new and much tougher target of “net zero” greenhouse gases by just over 30 years’ time.
It means that emissions from homes, transport, farming and industry will have to be avoided completely or – in the most difficult examples – offset by planting trees or sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere.
The government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change recommended the goal in May saying that if other countries followed our example there was a 50-50 chance that the world would stay below the recommended 1.5C temperature rise by 2100. This is considered the threshold for dangerous climate change.
The Prime Minister, Theresa May, said the UK had benefited from fossil fuels in the industrial revolution, so now it was time to lead the way to a cleaner, greener world and safeguard the environment for future generations.
The government has said it will attempt to make the clean revolution as painless as possible. An example already is of technology improvements like LED light bulbs which have saved emissions without people noticing.
But other changes in the pipeline will affect householders, such as moving from gas to hydrogen central heating and from petrol vehicles to electric cars.
More controversial moves such as reducing meat-eating and flying plus turning down thermostats in the home could face serious opposition.
“But,” said Ron, “there will need to be a massive investment in clean energy and the government hasn’t said yet whether the cost will fall on consumers, tax-payers, or the fossil fuel firms that have caused climate change.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond has warned of a potential cost of £1 trillion by 2050, though this could be offset by the benefits of reducing pollution which could cut NHS costs.
However, Professor Phil Taylor, head of engineering at Newcastle University, said the UK was already slipping away from its mid-term carbon targets of cutting emissions by 80% by 2050. He added that this was not helped by opening new coal mines, plans to extend Heathrow Airport and continuing with fracking.
Ron added: “One important area to cut global emissions is by improving the efficiency of buildings. The Government needs to look at ways to encourage residents to install solar panels and to insulate their homes better to cut heat loss and reduce their bills.”
For more information on green energy contact Ron on 0845 474 6641 or go to www.noreus.co.uk