Published On: Tue, Jan 27th, 2015

How Is the UK Government Tackling Climate Control

Global warming is becoming less and less of a controversial subject. At a 2014 social media event hosted by Skeptical Science, 97% of interviewed scientists agreed that global warming was a real phenomenon. This coincides with the current UK government’s efforts to improve the country’s environmental standing. Over the past several years, we’ve seen numerous initiatives to try and tackle the issue.

Government Tackling Climate Control

Where It Started

In 2011 a government study titled Great Britain’s Housing Energy Fact File was published detailing the energy use trends of British homes from 1970-2008. The study found that, since 1970, energy used to heat Britain’s homes has increased by 20%. The switch to central heating, predominantly fueled by gas, brought with it great improvements in the carbon efficiency of heating. The rate homes lose heat during the winter season fell sharply in the last four decades, with the most significant of these changes occurring since 2004 as energy efficient fixtures became more standardised. Changes to buildings regulations has meant more homes now have full insulation, sealed windows, and more energy efficient boilers.

However, despite these improvements in fuel solutions, this couldn’t compensate for the near eight million more homes that have been built since 1970 as well as these homes new dependence on modern electrical appliances.

The Changes in Place

In an effort to combat these changes, the UK government has launched a number of schemes to incentivise the public to reduce their carbon footprint. The country currently lags behind several other European countries that make up the top ten producers of solar energy, such as Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. The feed-in tariff for solar energy – which pays for any electricity you generate (including that which is used) as well as for the surplus electricity that gets exported to the national grid – now pays 14.38p per kWh to properties that have a D-rated energy performance or higher. Properties with a lower energy performance see this reduced to 4.61p per kWh.

In January 2013, the UK launched the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) programme and The Green Deal. ECO aims to reduce the UK’s energy consumption by supporting those who live in, or are at risk of, fuel poverty. The programme – specifically targeted towards low-income families or those who receive benefits – is estimated to cost the UK government an estimated £1.3 billion each year. The Green Deal attempts to improve members of the public’s knowledge about carbon emissions with the use of assessments of an individual’s home. Approved assessors such as may then advise the homeowner on their options regarding what insulation, draught-proofing, and renewable energy options are available to them. In its first six months, a reported 38,259 Green Deal assessments had taken place.