The Climate Change Act at 10: The infrastructure revolution is just picking up steam. Sir John Armitt, National Infrastructure Commission. Ten years ago today, the Climate Change Act became law. It brought in measures to help make the UK a world leader in tackling greenhouse gas emissions, with countries around the world passing their own laws modelled on this legislation. A decade on, as the government looks to be more ambitious in this area, the decisions we make on infrastructure will be just as vital to us making progress for years to come as those we make elsewhere. This country has seen significant change both in its approach and success in tackling climate change, and in public attitudes towards some of the solutions: latest available figures show a 43 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels; over the past 12 months the numbers of electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles sold in the UK has risen by a fifth, and public support for renewables as our source of electricity has soared to 80 per cent. But clearly there’s more to do. The UK has made good progress on power generation, but far less on reducing transport-related carbon emissions or those from heating our homes. On energy, we’ve recommended that the government set a target for 50 per cent of the country’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030. We’ve also called for trials of hydrogen as an alternative to natural gas, and greater research into the potential of heat pumps, to reduce the carbon emissions from our heating supply – views echoed in a recent report by the Committee on Climate Change. And we’ve highlighted the need for greater action to improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock. If we are to make serious reductions in emissions from transport, we need to see a wholesale shift to electric vehicles. This is beginning to gather pace, but increasing demand for electric vehicles makes the need for a truly national and visible charging network ever more pressing.
Business Green 26th Nov 2018 read more »