The House of Commons Climate Change Committee (CCC) has just launched a new, detailed report that follows the UK’s major sectors on their journey to net zero. Ultimately, the report aims to detail whether or not the particular sectors are decarbonising at a rate likely to help them achieve net zero by 2050.
The CCC has noted that it is very likely that net zero will not be achieved by the deadline.
One of the key stand out facts highlighted in the report is the 47% reduction in UK emissions since 1990 levels. Despite a 4% increase in emissions in 2021, the positives can be found in the fact emissions are still 10% lower than they were in 2019.
Alarming, however, is the fact that the CCC has detailed 33% of required emission reductions will not be covered by existing policies…
In this article we take a look at two of the sectors causing most pollution, what legislation and pledges have already been introduced, and what can be done to further supplement the effort towards net zero.
Did you know that surface transport was the largest of all emitters in 2021?
After claiming the unwanted title of the most polluting sector in 20216, transport has remained at the top of the rostrum ever since. Despite fuel efficiency improvements and the recent rise in electric vehicle usage, Carbon Brief reports that emissions associated with UK cars, trains, planes, and ships have barely changed in more than 30 years.
It has been noted that the strategies in place to reduce transport’s emissions depend too heavily on the capabilities of electric vehicles rather than simply reducing the number of overall journeys made.
Back in March 2020 a decarbonising transport consultation stated that: “public transport and active travel should become the natural first choice for our daily activities.”
In order to support this, £2bn was pledged to the development of walking and cycling routes around the UK with a further £3bn invested into public sector contracts assigned to buses in England (outside of London) with the plan to deliver 4,000 new zero-emission vehicles.
Similar attention has been placed on the rail network. While electric trains are undoubtedly going to return the best results, the government is keen to see increased introduction of hydrogen and battery-powered machines, particularly on less frequently used lines.
The built environment
The second-largest source of emissions in the UK is the built environment (buildings). As with transport, the reduction in emissions in this sector of the economy has been fairly non-existent in the past decade with criticisms of the government strategy unsurprisingly prevalent.
The CCC refers to two areas of action crucial to the achievement of net-zero. Firstly, the delivery of low carbon heating solutions (heat pumps) and secondly the number of buildings reaching Energy Performance Certificate Band C.
In 2021, a mere 55,000 heat pumps were installed compared to a requirement of 600,000 – while 150,000 buildings were upgraded in terms of energy efficiency against an expected 500,000. The report from CCC comes just two days after Stew Horne, Head of Policy at Energy Saving Trust, outlined the essential steps policy makers must prioritise for real energy security.
Horned noted: “improving the energy efficiency of UK housing is crucial in the fight against climate change.”
The government wants businesses that are leading the charge to net-zero
The government is particularly keen to push forward towards net zero and so is actively encouraging businesses like yours to take the lead and pledge to cut their emissions by 2050 (or sooner). Less than a year ago the Prime Minister helped launch the Together for our Planet Business Climate Leaders campaign that supports small businesses to take their next steps in reducing their emissions.
With admirable emission levels, British businesses can also find themselves performing favourably when tendering for public sector contracts thanks to the fact that buyers are placing a significant emphasis on procuring with social value in mind – which includes environmental benefits.
When navigating the procurement process, public sector buyers throughout central and local government are looking for green considerations on the part of the supplying organisation.
Whether you’re a business working in transport, the built environment, or any other sector imaginable in the UK, you can be confident that there’s a public sector contract for you. Request a free demo of Tracker today and discover more about where you fit into this environment.
Jul 05, 2022.