Thanks to All-Energy for organising a series of webinars over the dates that would have seen a large turn-out of industry professionals at the All-Energy 2020 conference. We checked in to the online plenary session titled ‘The Path to Net Zero’ and captured the key points to share with you.
We were impressed with the speakers and it was particularly encouraging to hear reassurances from Chris Stark, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change that the UK Government is genuinely committed to hitting its net zero emission target by 2050. There is much work to be done but he listed some short term priorities that will deliver significant progress.
Changes at home and at work
Tackling the theme of domestic heat where traction has been slow to date, Stark highlighted the need to train people in the skills required to install low carbon heating and suitable levels of insulation to make homes more energy efficient. Currently less than 2% of UK homes have some form of low carbon heating but with the Committee on Climate Changing recommending the installation of 19 million heat pumps there is an urgent need to re-train people to deliver new heating technologies into homes.
Moving to transport, he recognised the urgent need to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads and discussed opportunities to achieve this by making it easier for people to work from home. The recent CV-19 lockdown has proved that a large proportion of office workers can operate successfully, but to facilitate home working across the whole of the UK requires better broadband infrastructure.
For those who do need to travel to work, Stark was clear that there should be many more and easier opportunities for people to walk and cycle to work safely.
The message from Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, Scottish Power, came across loud and clear. The best way to reduce carbon emissions right now is to ”electrify, electrify, electrify.” If the UK is serious about meeting the net zero target, he believes we don’t have time to wait for the ‘ideal’ solutions – we need to use the solutions that we have to hand, the majority of which involve electrification.
He was clear, however, that electrification was not at the expense of other, new technologies. He believes investment in alternative long-term solutions including biothermal and hydrogen technologies should continue and noted that transport and heat are probably the hardest sectors to decarbonise. With the right incentive programmes in place and supportive regulation, however, he shared his confidence that big investors will see the potential return on investment and will step into the marketplace to finance the best technologies.
The UK has a lot of work to do to achieve its 2050 net zero emission target and to reduce the country’s impact on climate change. It is clearly going to take a concerted and co-ordinated effort.
In 2021, the UK has the ideal opportunity to showcase progress as Scotland will host the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, and the UK will be president of the G7 summit. It was encouraging to hear from passionate industry leaders during the All-Energy webinar and we are confident that there will be a range of positive actions towards decarbonising the UK economy to share with other countries.
We work with companies that are driving forward innovation and carbon reduction across the three core areas of energy, transport and heating. We create strong, clear messaging and targeted communication strategies to enable them to share their technology with key stakeholders and maximise uptake of their low-carbon solutions.