The UK government must show it is serious about its legal obligations to tackle and prepare for climate change, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) emphasised this week.
Of 33 key sectors assessed by the committee, none showed good progress when it came to managing climate change risk.
“As the UK prepares to host next year’s global climate summit, the government has a window to demonstrate its commitment to addressing these responsibilities. Citizens, homes, workplaces and critical infrastructure must be prepared for a future with unavoidable climate impacts. The effects of climate change are already being felt in the UK,” said Baroness Brown of Cambridge, chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee.
The CCC’s 2019 progress report to Parliament recommended a net-zero policy across all levels and departments of government.
Key opportunities this year included taking steps to “protect people from the dangerous effects of overheating in homes, schools, care homes and hospitals, including through the current review of Building Regulations”, and reducing water consumption.
Heat pump manufacture NIBE stated that the UK had fallen behind climate objectives and is ill-prepared for the impacts of global warming. It said that since the Climate Change Act was passed over 10 years ago, no serious plan for heat decarbonisation or improvements to the efficiency of housing stock had been made, despite 40% of emissions coming from buildings in the UK.
The CCC addressed the potential of heat pumps, highlighting that no large-scale trials have begun and that far more policy needed to be put in place.
Phil Hurley, managing director of NIBE, said: “We are committed to tackling housing emissions here in the UK and agree with the recommendations set out in the CCC progress report today. It is clear that not enough is being done and NIBE is committed to ensuring that the right policies are introduced so that we can bring down emissions from buildings at the earliest opportunity.
“Our message at NIBE is clear. We need to replace fossil fuel heating systems with low-carbon solutions such as heat pumps. There are many timely challenges to address, including the skills gap and introducing incentives to encourage investment, if we are to see a greater deployment of heat pumps in homes across the UK. However, the CCC report comprehensively sets out how this could be achieved through a stable policy framework. There is no scope for postponing these strategies, particularly if we are to meet the net zero target on time. We must do it now.”