Tackling Climate Change
Climate is the average weather experienced over a long period of time, which includes temperature, wind and precipitation (rainfall, hail, sleet and snow). The Earth’s climate is not fixed and in the past has changed many times in response to a variety of natural causes. Climate change refers to an identifiable change in the climate that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer, and is often taken to mean man-made changes that have occurred since the onset of the industrial revolution.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change have provided the following information on climate change:
- The Earth’s surface has warmed by about 0.8°C since around 1900 and by around 0.5°C since the 1970s.
- The average rate of global warming over the period from 1901 to 2010 was about 0.07 ºC per decade.
- More than 30 billion tonnes of CO2 are emitted globally each year by burning fossil fuels.
- Average global temperatures may rise between 1.1°C and 6.4°C above 1990 levels by the end of this century.
Pathways to 2050
The UK is committed to reducing greenhouse gasses emissions by 80% by 2050 (relative to 1990 levels). The Carbon Plan, which was published in 2011, sets out the Government’s plan for achieving emissions reductions on a pathway towards meeting the 2050 targets.
The Government has introduced a number of schemes intended towards achieving to 2050 target, these include The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), The Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is the Government’s principal mechanism for driving forward the transition to deployment of renewable and low carbon heat, including biomass, over the coming decades. The RHI is a key contributor in achieving the UK’s share of the EU’s renewable energy targets and the Carbon Plan, which provides the two key objectives of the scheme:
- To increase the deployment of renewable heat technologies in order to keep the UK on track to meet the 2020 target in the most cost effective way. The Renewable Energy Strategy 2009 outlined that heat could contribute 12 % (72 TWh) towards meeting this target.
- To contribute to the UK’s carbon targets of achieving an 80% reduction by 2050
The RHI is designed to reward those who use renewable energy to heat their buildings and has two phases. Phase one was launched in November 2011, a scheme for the non-domestic sector that provides payments to industry, businesses and public sector organisations. Phase two, a domestic RHI launched in spring 2014.
Energy Company Obligation (ECO)
A new Energy Company Obligation will integrate with the Green Deal, allowing supplier subsidy and Green Deal Finance to come together into one seamless offer to the consumer. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) will take over from the existing obligations, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). These existing obligations are due to end in December 2012 and the ECO will take over in addressing energy efficiency in the domestic sector.
Details of what this obligation will look like are yet to be confirmed however it is good to be aware of this funding source and start thinking about how you could take advantage of this once it is launched. It is likely that this form of support will be heavily linked to the Green Deal and will particularly support those householders (eg the poorest and most vulnerable) and those types of property (eg hard to treat) which cannot achieve financial savings without an additional or different measure of support.
The Government will need to include powers in the forthcoming Energy Security and Green Economy Bill to introduce a new obligation on energy companies from 2012, to take over beyond CERT.
Additional information on the ECO can be found on the Ofgem website.