Climate Change Agreements save billions

News from the Environment Agency (EA) shows the Climate Change Agreements scheme delivered emissions reductions of 6.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent during 2019 and 2020.

The scheme offers tax benefits to firms which agree to energy efficiency targets. It equates to an overall emissions reduction of 13.3% across a total of 8,705 facilities signed up, which is administered by the EA on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan, said: “Industry has a critical role to play in helping the UK meet its Net Zero target by 2050 and today’s report shows the immense progress being made to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions across UK sectors.”

Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys Group, said: “The space whereby tax can incentivise energy efficiency is intriguing and one we are constantly observing.

“At Energys we believe every effort should be made at both policy level and beyond to put in place the key incentives to drive both energy efficiency and associated Net Zero essentials.”

Energy efficiency; the price rise panacea

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is covering the potential for energy efficiency to act as an insulation against energy price rises in the UK.

EST writes: ‘Direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings account for 17% of the UK’s total GHG emissions, making it crucial to tackle this now. This includes installing simple measures such as insulation in walls, floors and lofts, upgrading windows and doors with double glazing, and draught-proofing.’

Energy efficiency measures, it says, plus other retrofit works, are among the most cost-efficient ways to reduce emissions. There are many co-benefits including improved living standards, healthier and more resilient communities and the delivery of new, skilled green jobs in every part of the country.

It advises the UK Government needs to act now to reduce the effects of climate change. Analysis from E3G shows that if government closes the current public investment gap, £106 billion of green private sector investment could be leveraged by 2025.

Energy efficiency regs a ‘let down’

Days before Christmas, The Architects Journal reports both architects and engineers have criticised the government’s amendments to energy efficiency regulations, describing them as ‘a tiny step at a time when we need to be making a huge leap.’

On 15 December the government updated Part L of the Building Regulations, so that residential buildings will be required to produce 30 per cent fewer carbon emissions and non-residential buildings 27 per cent fewer, compared with current standards.

The measures are an ‘interim uplift’ in energy efficiency expected in buildings, ahead of stricter rules – named the Future Homes Standard and Future Buildings Standard – being introduced in 2025.

Housing minister Eddie Hughes said the government was ‘doing everything it can to deliver Net Zero’, adding that ‘changes will significantly improve the energy efficiency of the buildings where we live, work and spend our free time’.

But the amendments were met with disappointment by several architects and built environment professionals.

Sunand Prasad, chair of the UK Green Building Council, said the new proposals ‘fall short of what is needed to achieve UK’s carbon reduction targets’, adding he was disappointed that ‘much of the consultation response was not incorporated’.

£116 million of government cash to drive forward green innovation in the UK

From December, funding will see projects across the country develop new technologies that increase energy efficiency in homes and buildings, reduce carbon emissions, boost the UK’s energy security and provide cleaner ways to generate power and heat.

Kevin Cox commented: “I am always delighted to see new monies available to support the energy efficiency sector in the UK. As the Climate Minister notes, British businesses and entrepreneurs are already leading the world with innovative solutions to tackling climate change. This is not only good for the planet but will bring new jobs and investment across the UK.”

Johnson off track on Net Zero

Finally, The Energyst reports that Net Zero MPs are profoundly concerned about Johnson’s lack of action to drive Net Zero forwards.

Parliament’s all-party Net Zero interest group has accused the Johnson administration of ‘just hoping for the best’ in its supposed quest for carbon reductions in the UK economy.

Lack of leadership from No 10 in identifying or promoting practical actions to achieve its Net Zero goal by 2050 leaves the MPs ‘profoundly concerned’, their latest report ‘The Net Zero Roadmap’ declares.

The document voices the group’s disquiet at the administration’s “lack of immediate action, debate, planning and investment commensurate with the scale of the (NZ) challenge”.

“It’s essential we drive forward Net Zero, and the role energy efficiency has to play within this as fast as possible,” comments Kevin Cox.

“Let’s bring both industry, policy and government together to make this happen in 2022.”

EDIE also reported that thinktank Policy Connect, supported by a cross-party group of MPs, is calling on the UK Government to apply Net Zero ‘stress tests’ to all major policy decisions and to create a Net Zero delivery authority to help turn long-term climate goals into joined-up action.

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