Following a report from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) earlier this month calling for the UK to adopt a net-zero emissions target by 2050, it’s interesting to see impressive progress at opposite ends of the country.
Last week, London – once notorious for its pollution and poor air quality – has been ranked in the top 7% of global cities leading on environmental action and emissions reduction.
The ‘A’ rating has been awarded by CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) to just 43 out of 596 global cities.
CDP bases its assessment on each city’s ability to demonstrate strong climate adaptation and mitigation strategies and consistently track emissions.
London aiming for 2050 carbon neutral target
Like London, many of the top-scoring cities already have plans to become carbon neutral by 2050. But some are more ambitious, with The Hague aiming for 2030 and Melbourne for next year, 2020.
For London to achieve its 2050 goal, Mayor Sadiq Khan’s is focusing on:
- The introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London last month (April 2019).
- Reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline.
- Eliminating carbon emissions from all new building projects by 2030, and making all buildings in London net zero by 2050.
- Increasing London’s solar PV capacity by 20 times by 2050.
- Introducing zero-emissions zones in some borough centres by 2020, which is five years ahead of the previous target, to support the uptake of electric vehicles.
Scotland commits to net zero by 2045
London is the only UK city to make the CDP rankings. But others in Scotland are likely to follow – and possibly even overtake London – thanks to the Scottish government quickly committing to working towards the targets proposed by the CCC for the country, which would see it become net zero by 2045.
Indeed, not only has Scotland embraced this impressive goal, but its government claims to now have the most ambitious statutory targets in the world for the timeframes it’s committing to.
In 2018, the country achieved a 49% reduction in carbon emissions compared to a 1990 baseline. This puts it ahead of the UK as a whole, which collectively achieved a 37.6% drop in emissions over the same timeframe.
Urgent action required
The CCC believes the UK can achieve net zero by 2050 (and 2045 in Scotland) at the same cost as the current Climate Change Act. But urgent action is required.
Recommended steps include:
- 100% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.
- Development of both carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen energy technology as a “necessity not an option”.
- Electric vehicle targets should be moved forward to 2035.
- Renewable and clean energy generation to quadruple by 2050.
- Rewilding 20,000 hectares of land annually.
Steps for businesses
For businesses, one of the easiest ways to reduce carbon emission is to eliminate energy wastage. We find many large consumers can reduce consumption by around 20% simply by identifying and implementing energy efficiencies.
Participating in initiatives such as demand side response, which support the balancing of national demand without resorting to standby fossil-fuel power stations, can also support a reduction in the UK’s emissions (as well as generating income for participants).
To find out more about embracing more sustainable ways of managing energy, contact our Energy HQ team via EnergyHQ@npower.com or call 0800 193 6866.