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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change Targets’

Carbon Budgets,Climate Change Targets,Employment,Energy Policy,Fuel Poverty

Energy efficiency investment will strengthen the UK economy

WWF today published a report from Cambridge Econometrics that sets out the value that reducing carbon emissions will bring to the UK economy. The action needed to meet the UK’s 4th carbon budget, which will include significant investment in energy efficiency, will deliver 190,000 additional jobs, make households better off financially, provide new business opportunities and result in a net increase in annual Government revenue of £5.7bn by 2030.

Average net benefits to households will come close to offsetting the impact of increasing energy prices. These benefits will not be felt equally however, and the report notes that government needs therefore to target support at exposed or vulnerable groups. That is why we – and our allies in the End Fuel Poverty Coalition – are calling for the homes of all low income households to be improved to Energy Performance Certificate Band C by 2025. Improving homes to this standard will result in dramatic improvements to both the energy bill affordability and quality of life of their occupants.

The energy efficiency benefits set out in the WWF report can only be realised, however, if investors are confident in the market for energy efficiency goods and services: a government commitment to making energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority is key to this, together with long-term, rigorously enforced regulation of the energy efficiency of buildings.

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Climate Change Targets,Defra

DEFRA – Measuring and reporting of GHG emissions by UK companies

ACE have submitted a written reponse to the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs consultation: “Measuring and reporting of GHG emissions by UK companies”.

ACE warmly welcomes the prospect of ending the policy of continuing to make carbon reporting an entirely voluntary exercise. We endorse the proposition set out in the consultation document that would require all larger public and private firms – as defined by the Companies Act 2006 – to report publicly upon their annual greenhouse gas emissions. We believe that Government should reserve the right to introduce random spot-checks to ensure compliance. Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the Government is required to make mandatory requirements for carbon reporting, and we cannot see any credible why this should be changed.

Click here for our full reponse.

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Climate Change Targets,Scotland

The Green Energy powerhouse of Europe: the role of demand reduction


ACE have published a policy briefing ahead of the Scottish Government debate on Scotland’s Place as the Green Energy Powerhouse of Europe in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 2 June 2011.

In Summary

  • Scotland’s 100% renewables target by 2020 is technically achievable without an improvement in demand reduction but:
  • Improved demand reduction will make the renewables target easier to achieve;
  • Improved demand reduction will require a lower surcharge on electricity bills, and will reduce domestic energy demand, thus reducing, instead of increasing, fuel poverty;
  • Improved demand reduction itself brings green collar jobs and economic benefits.

ACE is therefore calling on the Scottish Government to:

  • Undertake an urgent comparison of the costs, benefits and impact on fuel poverty of investment in energy saving versus new renewable generation capacity, and publish the results;
  • Confirm that electricity demand will be reduced by 12% by 2020 in line with its overall energy demand reduction target;
  • Commit to consult within the next 12 months on the introduction of minimum energy efficiency standards for existing housing at point of sale or rental in 2015.

Click here for the full briefing

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Climate Change Targets,Energy Efficiency,European Union

Some targets are more equal than others

ImageThe European Union has binding targets for carbon dioxide reductions and renewable energy. Why does energy efficiency not have the same status?

The European Union has three energy-related targets for 2020. Each is based upon an emblematic 20 per cent. According to Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, these are: to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent; to boost the proportion of renewable energy to 20 per cent; and to improve energy efficiency by 20 per cent.

These targets may be equal in timescale and objective. But they are not equal in stature. The first two both have the force of Community law behind them, effectively compelling the 27 governments to adopt appropriate policies. In contrast, the energy-saving target does not have the same status at all. It is far from compulsory, just an indicative aspiration.

Does this distinction matter in practice? You bet it does. The consequence of this “also ran” status is plain. Whereas there is great confidence that the first two targets are on track to being met, you can find nobody who right now believes that the energy-saving “target” will be met.

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Climate Change Targets,Germany

The penalty for losing out to Germany

ImageThe UK and Germany have almost identical climate change commitments But both have very different approaches to hit their targets. Who is right?

I was at a rather grand luncheon in the House of Lords. The guest speaker was the chief scientist at the Department of Energy & Climate Change. He waxed eloquent about how the UK’s climate change commitments were being met. By 2050 practically everything would be run by non-fossil electricity – industrial processes, motor vehicles, heating and hot water. Consequently, he projected our electricity consumption will be twice, even three times, present levels.

As it happens, the luncheon was sponsored by the German company, Bosch. Germany has a virtually identical climate change commitment, of 80 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 than today. But in contrast the Berlin government equivalent is postulating a 25 per cent reduction in electricity consumption, together with a 53 per cent overall reduction in primary energy use (3,942 to 1,950TWh).

By 2050, the two countries are projected to have very similar population levels, and numbers of households. Even today, we are less energy efficient. Despite our lower Gross Domestic Product, both per capita and per household annual consumption are respectively 10 per cent and 20 per cent higher in the UK than in Germany. Sadly, that differential is set to worsen.

On most of the scenarios within the UK’s Pathways exercise, the UK’s per capita 2050 energy consumption is due to be 20 per cent (23.7 as opposed to 19.7MWh) bigger than in Germany – in some scenarios, the gap will be far larger.

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Climate Change Targets

Work Plan of the Climate Change Committee

The Climate Change Committee recently published its Work Plan outlining how it will fulfil its duties under the Climate Change Bill. Organisations were invited to submit comments and ACE drafted a response. We highlighted the importance for emissions reduction targets at a sectoral level, particularly for the residential, commercial and public services sectors. We also recommended that the Committee develop targets for different sustainable energy technologies such as combined heat and power, microgeneration and renewable energy.

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Climate Change Bill,Climate Change Targets,Scotland

Proposals for Scottish Climate Change Bill

ACE welcomes the Scottish Government’s ambition in introducing a Climate Change Bill which sets statutory targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and which supports the delivery of those targets. We also welcome the overall target of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050 on 1990 levels, which is broadly in line with the current scientific consensus. However, we believe the detailed proposals fall short of what is needed to achieve a fair and equitable reduction in Scotland’s emissions and will not give business and industry the certainty they need to invest for emissions cuts.

There are in our view a number of conspicuous shortcomings in the proposals that will hamper the Bill’s effectiveness. Principle among these is the lack of any limit on the number of carbon credits that can be purchased from abroad. The Scottish Government should be aiming for 100 percent internal provision to achieve the Scottish target. This would allow the Scottish economy to benefit from early action to reduce emissions, and, if investment is suitably targeted, would also help to achieve existing Scottish Government targets on fuel poverty.

ACE believes strongly in the effectiveness of statutory targets, with a variety of incentives and sanctions including the option of affordable legal challenge. Statutory targets will not only give direction to Government, but are vital to give business the certainty it needs to make the appropriate investment decisions. For building materials (including energy efficiency materials), the investment required to increase production is immense, and local workforces must be trained up and retained. This is not a business where imports can be relied upon to make good a shortfall in domestic production – imports are more expensive because of the bulky nature of the materials. For this reason and several others, ACE supports sectoral targets, as set out below.

In addition, the three year “budget cycle” proposed is too long and lacks adequate accountability to make the Bill effective. A cycle of annual reports to Parliament on progress towards meeting annual targets, ideally given by the First Minister, would deliver the required level of accountability.
Finally, it is essential that all greenhouse gas emissions, including those from aviation and shipping, are included in the Bill.

Read our response here

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Climate Change Targets,Domestic Emissions,Domestic Energy Consumption

Cold Comfort for Kyoto

Carbon implications from increasing residential cooling demand

(funded by Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust)

This scoping report looks at the need for cooling as temperatures increase towards 2020, and the impact energy intensive cooling options in the residential sector could have on the UK carbon emissions target. By analysing attitudes and behaviour to the higher temperatures it creates a number of possible cooling scenarios based on air-conditioning use. It then explores low and no-energy cooling options to synthesise a series of policy options and recommendations.

Read the Cold Comfort report


Energy consumption from cooling could be as high as 11TWh if we demand ever higher levels of comfort and cooling and try to meet this solely using air-conditioning. This is equivalent to 4.9 Mt of carbon dioxide emitted every year. However, if we maintain stable levels of comfort the energy consumption is reduced to under 8TWh. Furthermore, this can be met without any increase in energy consumption if buildings are designed or refurbished with rising temperatures in mind.

To meet this change, tighter building regulations are needed that calculates the energy needed for cooling as well as heating. This should be in place as soon as possible since any new buildings can be expected to last to at least 2050. For existing homes, refurbishments are needed. Consumers must be better informed so they are able to choose low or zero-energy options. If air-conditioning will be used, its impact must be minimised by only allowing the most energy efficient models on the market.


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Climate Change Targets,Kyoto

Kyoto Protocol CO2 Reduction Targets – Fact Sheet

Climate change is generally agreed to be one of the most serious environmental threats facing the planet. International consensus has been reached that anthropomorphic climate change is occurring  The UK alone emits around 160 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere each year, of which 80% is produced from the burning of fossil fuels to supply our energy needs. As a result, energy efficiency has come to be recognised as an essential tool for reducing the impacts of global warming.


In 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, the UK signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and along with other developed countries agreed to return emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to 1990 levels by 2000. In December 1997, the parties to the Convention met again at Kyoto, and agreed to cut emissions of the six main greenhouse gases by 6% below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. However, it was not until February 2005, when Russia ratified the agreement, that enough countries had signed up for the Kyoto Protocol to officially come into force. Australia and the USA did not ratify, opting instead to adopt a non-binding Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development with four other countries.


The following table summarises the reduction target for some of the key parties to the Convention as agreed at Kyoto, plus an estimate of whether the target will be met, based on current trends.

The EU as a whole has an 8% reduction target. However, a ‘basket’ approach to achieving this reduction is being taken, with differing targets for different Member States. The more industrialised countries such as the UK and Germany have generally been given more stringent targets than those countries whose per capita emissions are currently far lower, such as Portugal and Greece.

As can be seen from the table, very few countries are on course to meet their targets unless more strigent measures are implemented. While the UK was one of the few countries likely to exceed the original target of stabilisation of CO2 emissions by 2000 based on 1990 levels (agreed at Rio), this was primarily due to the running down of the country’s coal industry and the ‘dash for gas’ that followed privatisation. As a result, emissions are forecast to rise between 2000 and 2010 unless further measures are taken.

Kyoto Emission limit; percent change 1990 to 2008/12
Percent change at 2000, since 1990
Will the target be met, based on current trends?
No They did not ratify the agreement.
No CO2 +8% by 2000, +15% by 2005
No stabilisation by 2000 should be achieved, further reductions will require additional measures.
Possible On track to meet target
Possible if Climate Change Programme is implemented, emissions are estimated to increase by 15%, without implementation, an increase of more than 25% is expected.
No CO2 emissions in 1995 had already increased 6.7% per capita and 8.3% in total on 1990 levels.
n/a No information
New Zealand
No 50% increase of GHGs forecast for 2005.
Yes CO2 emissions are expected to increase by 20% by 2000 and 40% by 2010.
UK/Northern Ireland
Possible Emissions has risen recently but the switch to gas and decline in industry made a significant impact. Meeting the domestic 20% target is less likely.
No Did not ratify

Source: World Resources Institute (CAIT), 2005

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