The UK Climate Change Act
Through the Climate Change Act 2008 and the use of five-yearly ‘carbon budgets’ to help ensure targets are met, the UK is committed to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. This aligns with the ambition to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius.
The UK is currently meeting its emissions targets as set out in the carbon budgets - its emissions are 38% below 1990 levels. This is in part explained by the 2008 global recession and the subsequent reduction in energy demand, but also the contribution made by emerging low carbon business, such as those of MIMA members' businesses, and technology.
The Paris Agreement
The December 2015 Paris Agreement has now ramped up global ambition to limit global warming and emissions to 1.5 degrees; the agreement is more ambitious than the UK ‘s existing targets, which in turn are more ambitious than the EU’s current targets (prior to Paris). Paris, and the pledge of leading developed countries such as the UK to show leadership in reducing emissions, means that the UK government will also have to up its ambitions to achieve the new goals.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises government on how to meet its targets, suggests that a new wave of investment in low carbon technology and energy efficiency will be required.
The Role of Energy Efficiency
It is widely accepted that energy efficiency will play a crucial part in the UK meeting its future emissions targets and contributing to fighting global warming. Indeed, the CCC recently advised that to help meet the UK’s goals the government need to up its ambition for energy efficiency in homes and buildings as it represented at least 20% of UK emissions and 40% of UK energy use. It said: “A new energy efficiency programme is needed for UK homes, including 7 million insulations of walls and lofts.”
The Low Carbon Economy
As the CCC has also said: “The UK low-carbon economy already makes up 2-3% of GDP and employs hundreds of thousands of people. Its direct contribution to the economy is the same as the oil, gas and coal extraction sectors put together.”
Furthermore, the CCC confirms the significant contribution of MIMA members' businesses and adds that “further improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver significant savings for households in future (around £150, or more if wholesale costs continue to rise)”
Such figures demonstrate the extent to which MIMA members' businesses are at the core of combating energy wastage and global warming. MIMA's member companies are closely involved in developing new products and strategies to reducing dependence on inefficient energy sources still further, and to help the UK meet its ambitions on tackling climate change and global warming.