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Climate Change Committee publishes advice on the level of the Fifth Carbon Budget

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Today the Committee published its advice to Parliament on the level of the Fifth Carbon Budget, covering the period 2028-2032. Carbon budgets place restrictions on the total amount of greenhouse gases the UK can emit over a 5-year period in order to meet the UK’s goal of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050 based on 1990 levels.

Commenting on the Budget, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “Intriguingly the Committee suggests that meeting the fifth carbon budget could be very cheap or perhaps even free, once you take the real costs of energy into account.

“For example, adapting the national grid for clean electricity generators does incur a cost, but that could be offset by reductions to the public health bill due to less pollution.

“The Committee also makes the point that continuing power sector transformation from fossil fuels to clean generation is essential for an economy-wide low-carbon transition, because that unlocks carbon-cutting in transport and buildings – sectors where progress is currently languishing in the slow lane.”

Friends of the Earth senior energy campaigner Simon Bullock said: “This is not a fair or just response to the climate change crisis.

“The Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation is at the very lowest end of what they were considering. This means developing countries will have to do far more to help tackle climate change, while the UK can carry on polluting for longer.

“Ahead of crucial climate talks in Paris, the Government should be setting far higher targets, rather than drilling for more oil and gas and weakening policies on energy efficiency and renewable power.”

WWF-UK’s Head of Climate and Energy Emma Pinchbeck said: “This is a necessary step that would enable the UK to play its fair share in tackling global climate change, and would provide the long term commitment to low-carbon growth that businesses and consumers need.

“The government should accept the committee’s advice and commit to a strong fifth carbon budget this summer.   It should also accept proposals to improve the way carbon budgets are set and accounted for to ensure that the 61% reduction is achieved.  The Energy Bill currently before Parliament contains a proposal to effect this change.  This also deserves Government support.

“Only by acting with clarity on domestic climate policy can the Government show leadership on the international stage.”

Jenny Hogan, Director of Policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “The publication of the Fifth Carbon Budget reaffirms what the Committee on Climate Change – the Government’s own advisors – have already said: the amount of renewable electricity generated in the UK must double by 2030 if we are to meet our legally-binding climate change targets.

“It is important to note that onshore wind and solar, our cheapest renewable energy technologies, play a significant role in all scenarios for our future energy mix, and must be included if we are to decarbonise at the lowest cost to the consumer.

“However it is hard to see how any of these renewable technologies will be able to progress given current uncertainty around future support for the sector from the very Government whose advisors are recommending their expansion.

“The report also contradicts the UK Government’s recent statement to only support the deployment of future offshore wind projects if they further reduce costs by an unspecified amount. The Committee clearly argues that it is UK deployment of offshore wind that drives down costs, not the other way around, and that the future energy mix should include the roll-out of offshore wind.”

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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