The Paris Agreement on Climate Change was met with fanfare across the world. A serious step in the direction of a carbon-balanced future and the more stable and cleaner environment was agreed. In many ways, the Paris Agreement was just the first step, with different countries agreeing upon the targets. The end goal being to lower our carbon emissions. However, the real work, towards actually meeting those targets, is only just starting.
The UK has been at the forefront of a carbon-neutral future, investing in wind turbines and solar panels. In fact, the government has even provided subsidies on these until recently. This alone will not be enough to reach the targets agreed upon in Paris. However, the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology says more efficient heating could bring the UK closer to reaching climate targets.
Efficient Heating and Carbon Emissions
The report, entitled ‘Managing Heat System Decarbonisation’, finds that the energy used to heat the 25 million homes in the UK makes up a quarter of the country’s emissions of carbon dioxide. Such huge quantities can’t go untouched if the UK is to meet targets, argue the researchers at Imperial. Cutting household heating emissions will require simultaneous action, from heating and boiler replacement to investment in local and national infrastructure.
Notably, the UK’s stock of housing is ageing, with many Victorian properties needing large amounts of heat energy. With 90% of homes expected to stay occupied by 2050, action is needed to cut emissions in time.
Dr MacLean, the lead researcher at Imperial, explains that this is a large project but that, as long as we start soon and have a long term strategy in place, it is achievable. One long-term strategy floated by Dr MacLean and his team was that of giving local and regional authorities more resources and the legal clout to help them take the lead where national government is unsuccessful.
25 Million Homes: The Plan
In conclusion, the report suggests that individual households are only fighting half of the battle. Serious upgrades are required to keep the UK on target for an energy efficient future.