Key legislation changes helping to reduce UK carbon emissions
As environmental issues continue to top the agenda for governments and the general public, nations the world over are taking serious action to protect the future of the planet. The UK, in particular, has taken some bold steps forward in recent years, and legislation continues to evolve to support emissions reduction in line with international targets.
From the way we work, to the transport we use, the impact of climate change affects every part of our day-to-day lives – so it’s important we understand the policy changes that are being made to safeguard our environment.
Net Zero Now
From June 2019 this year, the government’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions and achieve ‘net zero’ status by 2050 was officially signed into law. This makes the UK the first major economy to legislate to end its contribution to global warming. This latest move is a more ambitious plan than the country’s previous target of an 80% emissions reduction by 2050, taking it one step further – cutting emissions to as close to zero as possible in the same time period.
Head of Corporate Affairs and Innovation at Flogas, David Taylor, said: “With so many premises still relying on high-carbon traditional off-grid fuels like oil – and heating making such a major contribution to current emissions levels – the transition to lower-carbon alternatives is long overdue. LPG is the cleanest, most efficient and effective conventional off-grid fuel, so it is uniquely placed to help reduce emissions immediately.
“Building on this, we see biopropane (or BioLPG) as a hugely significant part of the UK’s renewable future. Produced using biological sources (such as waste, sewage and energy crops), bioLPG is chemically-identical to LPG. This means it can be simply ‘dropped in’ to the UK’s existing, comprehensive LPG network – so it will become increasingly important as we strive to meet the UK’s new 2050 net zero deadline.”
The Clean Growth Strategy
Another key part of the UK’s move towards a carbon-neutral future is the government’s Clean Growth Strategy – a plan brought into place to help accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ by decreasing emissions whilst simultaneously increasing economic growth.
Most notably, the Strategy aims to reduce carbon emissions in the six areas that together make up 100% of the UK’s emissions. These are:
Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions)
Improving efficiency within our homes (13% of UK emissions)
Increasing the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions)
Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions)
Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions)
Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions)
To turn this vision into a reality, the government has pledged to roll out lower-carbon processes, systems and technologies nationwide – doing so in the most cost-effective way possible for businesses and homes alike.
Road to Zero Strategy
Introduced in July 2018, the Road to Zero strategy outlines the government’s plans on how it intends to slash road transport emissions and build a greener infrastructure. Part of this plan will be encouraging the uptake of zero-emission cars, vans and trucks, as part of the government’s mission to tackle air pollution and deliver cleaner air across the country. Changes such as putting a stop to the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 is one of the most significant ways in which it intends to deliver this plan.
In fact, the UK government is aiming for at least 50% (and as many as 70%) of new car registrations to be ultra-low emission by 2030, with a target for 40% for new vans. What this means for the UK is that we’ll begin to see a huge rise in electric charging points as the government throws it weight behind the adoption of electric vehicles (EV).
Unfortunately, whilst the government remains steadfast in its aim to reduce carbon emissions, there have been some delays introducing Clean Air Zones (CAZs) into various UK cities. Most recently, Leeds and Birmingham have experienced delays with their digital vehicle checking tools, which allow drivers to check the type of emissions their cars produce. Delays to the introduction of this software are likely to push back their plans to introduce Clean Air Zones.
The Paris Agreement
Representing a huge step forward in the united fight against climate change, The Paris Agreement was the original catalyst for many of these recent legislation changes. It saw more than 200 countries take part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, resulting in an agreement that strengthened action for a more sustainable, low carbon future.
Essentially, all parties involved in The Paris Agreement (including the UK) have committed to limit temperature rises by no more than 2°C above pre-industrial times and, if possible, limit this further to 1.5°C. A regular five-year review will also take place to monitor progress as well as increased funding to developing countries to help keep them in line with similar national targets.