The CCC proposes the ultimate push to solve climate change

CCC, climate change, carbon reduction, Hywel Davies, Lord Deben

In May, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) proposed new ambitious targets for the government to reduce greenhouse gases to zero by 2050. The CCC report Net Zero – the UK’s contribution to stopping climate change calls for the UK to adopt a new, zero greenhouse gas emission target by 2050 and large-scale low or zero-carbon heating installation by 2030.

In the buildings sector the committee recognises that the foundations for a net zero target are in place but calls for a “major ramp-up of policy effort” to deliver energy efficient buildings and low carbon heating across the sector and the stock. The report is explicit about the need for greater urgency to deliver progress, describing current plans as “insufficiently ambitious” or “proceeding too slowly, even for the current 80% target”.

The committee has reviewed the latest scientific evidence on climate change, which includes the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. They have also considered how the UK can play an appropriate role in addressing the global challenge to limit future temperature increases.

CIBSE technical director Hywel Davies commented: "This really is a wake-up call for the building services sector: we need to take a serious look at how we can deliver effective low or zero carbon heating at scale, which is essential to meeting a zero carbon target rather than the current 80% reductions."

Heating is a particular target of the CCC report, and current progress on decarbonising heating is criticised because ten years after the Climate Change Act 2008 “there is still no serious plan for decarbonising UK heating systems and no large-scale trials have begun for either heat pumps or hydrogen”.

The CCC highlights that there are benefits to its proposals beyond the environmental factors. It cites lower-cost heating for consumers and a reduction in fuel poverty; lower pollution levels; more efficient buildings; and better transport options. The report emphasises the need for any costs of the shift to zero carbon to be fairly distributed, and also that the public must be behind the proposals.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “We can all see that the climate is changing and it needs a serious response. The great news is that it is not only possible for the UK to play its full part – we explain how in our new report – but it can be done within the cost envelope that Parliament has already accepted. The Government should accept the recommendations and set about making the changes needed to deliver them without delay.”

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