Climate Change: UK government to commit to 2050 target
On 12th June, the Government announced the new net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for the UK to be achieved by 2050. This world-leading target will bring to an end the UK’s contribution to climate change.
Everyone can play their part. Whether you are interested in taking action yourself or are a business, university, research institution or community, tacking climate change and driving clean growth is both a shared responsibility and shared opportunity.
Why act on climate change?
Climate change is happening, with human activity as the main cause. Climate change is a result of rising levels of carbon dioxide, and other gases such as methane, trapping the sun’s energy in the atmosphere and causing the planet to heat up – resulting in the greenhouse effect.
The higher the amount of greenhouse gases, the warmer the Earth becomes. As climate changes, the frequency of some extreme weather events such as heatwaves and flood in the UK are increasing.
What the government are doing
Last year was the UK’s greenest ever year with more than 50% of electricity coming from low carbon sources. The government is working at home and internationally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change and maximise the economic opportunities for clean growth.
The government has committed over £3 billion to support low carbon innovations between 2015 and 2021 through the Clean Growth Strategy and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The UK has the biggest offshore wind capacity in the world, which is set to power a third of the UK’s electricity by 2030. When the sun is shining, solar panels can generate a quarter of our electricity and by 2030, 70% of electricity could come from low carbon sources.
Alongside other developing countries the UK also pledged to provide at least £5.8 billion of International Climate Finance (ICF) between 2016 and 2020, placing us amongst the world’s leading providers of climate finance. The ICF supports developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, reduce deforestation and pursue economic growth. ICF have given 17 million people access to clean energy and helped 47 million people adapt to the impact of climate change.
The government’s ambition, under the modern Industrial Strategy, is for the UK to be at the forefront providing low carbon technologies, innovating systems and services that will be needed as the world acts to tackle climate change. Already there are almost 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains and, the sector has the potential to support up to 2 million jobs by 2030.
How you can play your part
Businesses and universities are important partners to drive the innovations we need for clean growth and tackling climate change.
Businesses have significant opportunities to reduce their own emissions and costs through reducing energy waste. Your business could make a commitment today to take action by looking at the following tips:
Prevent waste by reusing and recycling
Cut your energy use – UK Businesses could deliver up to £6 billion in cost savings by 20330 from improving energy efficiency.
Get a smart meter – Smart Meters will mean you no longer get estimated energy bills and can see exactly what you’re spending in pounds and pence.
Improve your buildings - UK Businesses could deliver up to £5 billion in cost savings by 2030 from improving their buildings
Review your vehicle fleet – Electric vehicles can offer fuel savings from 3p per mile!
Engage with your employees – UK businesses could save £600 million by making changes to everyday energy use by employees
Prioritise at Board Level – 38% of large businesses save board-level buy-in is an obstacle to investing in energy efficient power
Find out if your business can benefit from ‘green’ tax reliefs – Environmental taxes encourage businesses to operate in an environmentally friendly way visit gov.uk for more information
Understand the long-term risks and opportunities of climate change for your business – turnover for clean businesses increased by 5% between 2015 and 2015!