The UK Parliament has passed a motion declaring a Climate Emergency, in the same week as the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Government also voted to declare a Climate Emergency and to take dramatic mitigating action without delay.
So what should the UK do to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, to achieve what the IPCC cites as necessary to prevent climate catastrophe - cap global warming at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels?
Energy supply accounts for 24% of UK carbon emissions. We have to transition to 100% renewable energy. How?
- Lift the ban on onshore wind farms subsidies, and replace with a ban on shale gas.
- Re-instate the exemption from climate change levy (CCL) for 100% renewables supplies (scrapped by the government in 2015 - which deincentivised businesses to purchase green tariffs and caused renewable energy share prices to plummet).
- Switch the balance of energy subsidies away from fossil fuels to renewables. Currently the UK provides the highest fossil fuel subsidies in the EU. Fossil fuels receive £10.5 billion a year, compared with just £7.1 billion for renewables.
- Actively manage the transition from coal and gas-fired electricity power stations to hydro, wind and solar including job transfers. We have the expertise, we have the space, we now need the government to proactively facilitate this transition.
- Replace the fracking tsar with a renewables tsar.
Transition to 100% electric / no pollution vehicles, reduce emissions from aviation fuel & improve rail networks. How?
- Increase support for low income drivers to trade in petrol and diesel vehicles for electric vehicles (EVs) with a national scrappage scheme.
- Increase low emissions vehicle grants - the government has committed to phasing out diesel vehicles by 2040, but it SCRAPPED grants for plug-in hybrids in November 2018, and CUT grants for all-electric vehicles from £4,500 to £3,500.
- Use business fiscal policy to drive a move for business fleets across to electric and low emission vans and lorries.
- Reinstate scrapped bus routes, replace diesel buses (and trains) with EVs.
- Create a trade-in scheme for black cabs to transition to EVs.
- Support research into lower-carbon aviation fuel, and use fiscal incentives for airlines to switch to lower-carbon fuel, such as reduced taxes on lower-carbon flights. No more runways or airports to be built.
- Re-nationalise the railways, which have become individual monopolies with profit being the only goal. Invest in the network and drive prices down.
Low carbon homes
Increase the number of low carbon homes. How?
- Reinstate the Labour government's 2006 Zero Carbon Homes policy, scrapped in 2005, which cost homeowners an average £200 per year
- Reinstate solar power incentives
- Reinstate Feed In Tariff scheme which encouraged householders to install solar and other renewable energy generation, scrapped by this government from April 2019.
Extract carbon from the atmosphere
- Direct air capture - Invest in technological development and deployment to advance prospects for direct air capture at a large scale. Multiple companies have already developed working direct air capture systems, despite the near absence of public research and development spending on the technology.
- Help landowners create carbon sinks: Create the right conditions and financially reward landowners for the creation of carbon sinks on their land - planting forests, cover crops on arable land, using compost on the soil to increase carbon uptake.
How can Green Element help your business respond to the Climate Emergency?
We offer organisations and businesses solutions to combat climate change. Green Element will look at the entire operations of your organisation helping to cut emissions. We have our own carbon footprinting tool which will aid the process - Compare Your Footprint.
At Regent's University London we helped achieve savings of 500 tonnes of carbon emissions and 160, 000 kiloWatt-hours of energy. In the process the university has also reduced running costs by £24,000.
The first step you can take as a business is to sign up to the Climate Emergency.
Contact us today and let us help your organisation contribute to halting our climate emergency.