The government has signalled its commitment to strengthening the UK's commitment to fighting climate change by moving towards a net-zero emissions goal.
This robust response follows publication of the IPCC Climate Change report, which warns that the world has 12 years to curb its greenhouse gas emissions if we are to avoid global warming reaching catastrophic levels.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister, Claire Perry, has sought advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on:
- Setting a date for achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the UK economy. This would mean ensuring that the total greenhouse gas emissions released by human activity do not exceed the emissions that are removed (e.g. by planting trees, carbon capture and storage, etc.)
- Advice on whether the UK should review its already ambitious legally binding 2050 target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% relative to 1990 levels
- How to decrease emissions across industry, homes, transport and agriculture
- The anticipated costs and benefits of pursuing more ambitious emissions targets, relative to existing targets
Through its Climate Change Act, the UK is leading the world in responding to the problem of global warming, having delivered on previous carbon reductions pledges and set challenging legally binding new targets for the future.
The government's Proposed new Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting regulations (SECR) will put sustainability under the corporate spotlight next April. From this date, it will be mandatory for large companies to report on carbon emissions, energy use and energy efficiency actions through their annual reports.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: "We’re a world leader when it comes to tackling climate change and cutting carbon intensity, but the evidence is clear – governments, businesses and communities must take further action to confront one of the greatest global challenges we’ve ever faced."
5 ways businesses can improve energy sustainability
Businesses account for around 25% of the UK's emissions, so there's a large onus on companies to play their part. What simple steps can our sector do to become more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
1. Consider installing onsite generation, especially solar and other renewable power . The IPCC has said that 70-85% of the world's power will need to come from renewable sources by 2050. In addition to renewable energy solutions, you could consider high efficiency combined heat and power (CHP). These distributed energy technologies can also help businesses save money on their bills.
2. Procure your energy from renewable sources. It is becoming more affordable to purchase energy from renewable energy sources, with wind and solar providing a rapidly increasing proportion of the UK power supply mix.
3. Embrace energy efficiency - the cheapest and greenest unit of energy is the one you don't use, so explore the many low and zero cost measures you can use to reduce consumption and improve your energy and carbon management.
4. Use your people power. Energy awareness training can convert your employees into your energy saving champions by helping them to understand their impact and how they can reduce unnecessary energy waste throughout your organisation.
5. Consider how you might reduce emissions from your company vehicles. While the UK has made great progress in reducing carbon emissions from the energy supply network, transport is now the most polluting sector and has made little progress in reducing emissions.
Give our energy experts a call to see how we can help you improve your energy efficiency performance, adopt renewable energy generation strategies, and meet mandatory new energy and carbon reporting rules. Call us now on 0330 166 4444
About Michael Dent
Michael Dent is Managing Director of Inprova Energy, one of the UK's top ten business energy procurement and energy management consultancies
He has extensive senior leadership experience of the European energy markets, working for Utilitywise plc, Total Gas & Power Ltd and RWE npower.
Inprova Energy is an independent energy consultancy – specialising in business energy purchasing and analysis, energy auditing and management, carbon reduction and reporting, and legislative compliance. Its chartered advisers are qualified ESOS Lead Assessors, and certified to deliver Carbon Trust Standard, ISO 50001 and carbon footprint measurement services.