The government’s latest energy statistics, out this week, give some grounds for optimism about whether it can reach it’s target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by four fifths, but the news on energy efficiency and fuel poverty doesn’t look good.
The UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act requires an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. To mark the way, the government has set itself a series of five year carbon budgets which currently run up to 2027.
According to the government’s figures, emissions across the economy fell by 30 per cent between 1990 and 2011 As a result, the country hit its first five year carbon budget as well as its internationally agreed targets to reduce emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. This result was largely the result of falling emissions in the energy sector, which account for 35 per cent of total emissions.
The government’s projections for future greenhouse gas emissions are based on the assumption that it’s energy efficiency policies will successfully reduce the amount of energy the country uses, driving emissions down.
The government hopes its flagship energy efficiency policy, the Green Deal, will encourage householders to install more energy efficient measures in their homes. But the Deal has attracted considerable criticism, not least due to low levels of takeup in its early stages.
There is a worry that failure to deliver on the Green Deal will help derail the government’s climate ambitions and there is a call for the government to set “ambitious minimum standards” for energy efficiency in residential and non-residential buildings, to help make sure it delivers.
The figures on fuel poverty are perhaps the least encouraging. The government has aimed to eliminate fuel poverty amongst the country’s most vulnerable households, i.e those containing children, old people or people with disabilities for example, by 2010. It also aimed “as far as reasonably practicable” to eliminate fuel poverty entirely by 2016.
The government previously considered households fuel poor if they needed to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on their energy supply. Using this measure, the government has already missed its 2010 target.
It is perhaps not surprising that the government has struggled with this measure, given the changes in the price over fuel over the last decade or so.
At Barton Petroleum, we like to advise on how best you can become more fuel efficient and are active in helping households who fall into the definition of fuel poverty. For more advice please call one of our depots who will be happy to help.