Environmental issues are an ever-growing concern and the UK is forever introducing bolder steps in a bid to tackle the difficulties facing the environment. Climate change plays a major impact on our day to day lives whatever way you look at it. From the transport we use to the food we eat, we affect it, and it affects us, therefore understanding the laws linked to it is crucial.
The Arrival of Net Zero
As of June 27th, 2019, the UK government became the first major economy in the world to introduce legislation that puts an end date on carbon emissions being produced. Although ‘net zero carbon emissions’ by 2050 does not propose that the UK will produce no carbon emissions at all, it legislates that any produced will either be offset or removed. The previous aim was to reduce emissions by 80 per cent however, following findings being announced that the UK is at fault for producing 500 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year, a drastic plan needed to be implemented.
David Taylor is the Head of Corporate affairs and Innovation at Flogas and he said: “With so many premises still relying on high-carbon traditional off-grid fuels like oil – and heating making such a major contribution to current emissions levels – the transition to lower-carbon alternatives is long overdue. LPG is the cleanest, most efficient and effective conventional off-grid fuel, so it is uniquely placed to help reduce emissions immediately.
“Building on this, we see biopropane (or BioLPG) as a hugely significant part of the UK’s renewable future. Produced using biological sources (such as waste, sewage and energy crops), bioLPG is chemically identical to LPG. This means it can be simply ‘dropped in’ to the UK’s existing, comprehensive LPG network – so it will become increasingly important as we strive to meet the UK’s new 2050 net zero deadline.”
The UK’s transition to a carbon-neutral future also involves a government strategy known as clean growth. In effect, this is a plan brought into place to help accelerate the pace of ‘clean growth’ by decreasing emissions whilst simultaneously increasing economic growth. Most notably, the Strategy aims to reduce carbon emissions in the six areas that together make up 100% of the UK’s emissions. The six areas are as follows:
- Improving business and industry efficiency (25% of UK emissions)
- Increasing the shift to low-carbon transport (24% of UK emissions)
- Delivering clean, smart, flexible power (21% of UK emissions)
- Enhancing the benefits and value of our natural resources (15% of UK emissions)
- Improving efficiency within our homes (13% of UK emissions)
- Leading the public sector (2% of UK emissions)
In order to make this feasible, the government has committed to introducing new lower carbon processes, systems, and technologies across the nation. They will also do this in the most cost-effective way possible.
Road to Zero
Initially brought in in July 2018, the Road to Zero strategy focused on the aim to reduce the emissions caused by transport. Part of this plan will be encouraging the uptake of zero-emission cars, vans and trucks, as part of the government’s mission to tackle air pollution and deliver cleaner air across the country. Changes such as putting a stop to the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 is one of the most significant ways in which it intends to deliver this plan.
Although the date set is 2040, the government’s aim is to have at least 50 per cent of new car registrations by 2030 as ultra-low emissions, and 40 per cent for vans. What this means for the UK is that we’ll begin to see a huge rise in electric charging points as the government throws it weight behind the adoption of electric vehicles (EV).
Despite major inroads being established, there have been some delays in introducing the various planned Clean Air Zones (CAZs) into a number of UK cities. Most recently, Leeds and Birmingham have experienced delays with their digital vehicle checking tools, which allow drivers to check the type of emissions their cars produce. Delays to the introduction of this software are likely to push back their plans to introduce Clean Air Zones.
Paris’ Battle Against Climate Change
The Paris Agreement can be considered one of the most major steps in regard to the fight against climate as, effectively, it was the foundation and the ultimate catalyst of all further legislation. It saw more than 200 countries take part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, resulting in an agreement that strengthened action for a more sustainable, low carbon future.
The countries who entered into the Paris Agreement, which includes in the UK have all committed to preventing temperature rise by no more than 2 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. A regular five-year review will also take place to monitor progress as well as increased funding to developing countries to help keep them in line with similar national targets.
The host of legislation introduced in a bid to tackle climate change is certainly a step in the right direction, however a concerted effort on behalf of the public is essential. Start with a simple change like moving from oil to gas, considering the LPG price is lower.