This article's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (March 2012)
The United Kingdom's Climate Change Programme was launched in November 2000 by the British government in response to its commitment agreed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The 2000 programmewas updated in March 2006 following a review launched in September 2004.
In 2008, the UK was the world's 9th greatest producer of man-made carbon emissions, producing around 1.8% of the global total generated from fossil fuels.
The aims of the programme are not only to cut all greenhouse gas emissions by the agreed 12.5% from 1990 levels in the period 2008 to 2012 (the international Kyoto commitment), but to go beyond this by cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2010.
When the original programme was published in 2000, it confirmed that UK emissions were already forecast to be around 15% lower by 2010.
As of March 2006, government projections were in line with the official energy policy of the United Kingdom) so that, by 2010, the UK will have reduced its carbon dioxide emissions by about 15-18% below 1990 levels, thus missing the government's internal target but achieving its Kyoto Protocol target, with a projected reduction of emissions from the basket of all greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide) of about 23-25% from 1990 levels.
The stated strategies of the 2000 programme were to:
The following are among the actions taken to implement the strategy:
On 26 November 2008, after cross-party pressure over several years, led by environmental groups, the Climate Change Act became law. The Act puts in place a framework to achieve a mandatory 80% cut in the UK's carbon emissions by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels), with an intermediate target of between 34% by 2020 which would have risen in the event of a strong deal at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
Introduced on 1 April 2002, the Renewables Obligation requires all electricity suppliers who supply electricity to end consumers to supply a set portion of their electricity from eligible renewables sources; a proportion that will increase each year until 2015 from a 3% requirement in 2002–2003, via 10.4% in 2010-2012 up to 15.4% by 2015–2016. The UK Government announced in the 2006 Energy Review an additional target of 20% by 2020–21. For each eligible megawatt hour of renewable energy generated, a tradable certificate called a renewables obligation certificate(ROC) is issued by OFGEM.
On or before 31 September[ clarification needed ] following the RO year (1 Apr - 31 Mar) Suppliers can meet their Renewables Obligation by:
When a supplier meets all or part of its obligation by paying the buy-out price for each MWh of its obligation not discharged by the redemption of ROCs, the money is put into a holding account called the buy-out fund. The buy-out fund is recycled before 1 November to those electricity suppliers who presented ROCs against their Renewables Obligation. This 'recycling' is distributed equally for each ROC redeemed, those suppliers who did not redeem any ROCs will receive no 'recycling' from the buy-out fund.
The renewables obligation also makes requirements about how the electricity can be generated. An example is that the co-firing of biomass with coal is to be phased out - and will not be eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates after 2016 (although the government has announced its intention to revisit the co-firing rules as part of the 2006 Energy Review).
The renewables transport fuel obligation is a separate law, which although is not in force yet, is set to become law. It would require bio-ethanol and bio-diesel to be added to road fuel, up to a limit of 2 or 5.75%. The land required for this would be considerable. It has been estimated (by the NFU) that the biomass could be grown by using all of the UK's net wheat exports, and growing wheat on 1,200 square kilometres of land.
Grants to assist with the installation of renewable energy sources in domestic properties and for community groups were made available through the Clear Skies organisation, and the Major Photovoltaics Demonstration programme. In 2006 these were replaced by the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP).
The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme is a mandatory cap and trade scheme, announced in May 2007, that will apply to large non energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors, including hotel chains, supermarkets, banks, central government and large Local Authorities. It is anticipated that the scheme will have cut carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020.
The CRC scheme will apply to organisations that have a mandatory half-hourly metered electricity consumption greater than 6,000 MWh per year. This roughly equates to an electricity bill above £500,000 (US$1,000,000), although it would apply to emissions from direct energy use as well as electricity purchased.
The Green Deal is a policy to encourage energy efficiency improvements in the UK's building stock. It will be financed through loans attached to the energy bills of the improved properties - The green deal was dropped by government in 2015.
Electricity Market Reform is a UK programme seeking to decarbonise electricity generation in the UK by providing low carbon generators guaranteed income through a contract for difference arrangement.
It is made up of 2 mechanisms: Contract for Difference (CfD) and the Capacity Market (CM).
Although not part of the central government programme, in local government, over 300 councils have signed up to the Nottingham Declaration, launched on 25 October 2000, committing them to work towards reducing emissions.
The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a tax on energy delivered to non-domestic users in the United Kingdom. Its aim is to provide an incentive to increase energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions; however, there have been ongoing calls to replace it with a proper carbon tax. The effect of the Climate Change Levy in increasing the price of electricity is to hinder the move toward electrification of heat: this is the key barrier in the UK preventing the decarbonisation of heating by using heat pumps.
The Renewables Obligation (RO) is designed to encourage generation of electricity from eligible renewable sources in the United Kingdom. It was introduced in England and Wales and in a different form in Scotland in April 2002 and in Northern Ireland in April 2005, replacing the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation which operated from 1990.
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. Offsets are measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e). One tonne of carbon offset represents the reduction of one tonne of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases.
Domestic housing in the United Kingdom presents a possible opportunity for achieving the 20% overall cut in UK carbon dioxide emissions targeted by the Government for 2010. However, the process of achieving that drop is proving problematic given the very wide range of age and condition of the UK housing stock.
Energy use in the United Kingdom stood at 2,249 TWh in 2014. This equates to energy consumption per capita of 34.82 MWh compared to a 2010 world average of 21.54 MWh. Demand for electricity in 2014 was 34.42GW on average coming from a total electricity generation of 335.0TWh.
Various energy conservation measures are taken in the United Kingdom.
The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), after the Department of Energy and Climate Change was merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2016. Energy markets are also regulated by the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem).
The Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which aims to boost the number of heat and electricity microgeneration installations in the United Kingdom, so helping to cut carbon emissions and reduce fuel poverty.
Although the European Union has legislated in the area of energy policy for many years, the concept of introducing a mandatory and comprehensive European Union energy policy was only approved at the meeting of the informal European Council on 27 October 2005 at Hampton Court. The EU Treaty of Lisbon of 2007 legally includes solidarity in matters of energy supply and changes to the energy policy within the EU. Prior to the Treaty of Lisbon, EU energy legislation has been based on the EU authority in the area of the common market and environment. However, in practice many policy competencies in relation to energy remain at national member state level, and progress in policy at European level requires voluntary cooperation by members states.
A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonised economy is an economy based on low-carbon power sources that therefore has a minimal output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere, specifically carbon dioxide. GHG emissions due to anthropogenic (human) activity are the dominant cause of observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Continued emission of greenhouse gases may cause long-lasting changes around the world, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive, and irreversible effects for people and ecosystems.
The energy policy of Australia is subject to the regulatory and fiscal influence of all three levels of government in Australia, although only the State and Federal levels determine policy for primary industries such as coal.
Energy Saving Trust (EST) is a British organization devoted to promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation, and the sustainable use of energy, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions and helping to prevent man-made climate change. It was founded in the United Kingdom as a government-sponsored initiative in 1992, following the global Earth Summit.
The Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) in the United Kingdom is a target imposed on the gas and electricity transporters and suppliers under Section 33BC of the Gas Act 1986 and Section 41A of the Electricity Act 1989, as modified by the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006
The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme was a mandatory carbon emissions reduction scheme in the United Kingdom which applied to large energy-intensive organisations in the public and private sectors. It was estimated that the scheme would reduce carbon emissions by 1.2 million tonnes of carbon per year by 2020. In an effort to avoid dangerous climate change, the British Government first committed to cutting UK carbon emissions by 60% by 2050, and in October 2008 increased this commitment to 80%. The scheme has also been credited with driving up demand for energy-efficient goods and services.
Green electricity in the United Kingdom. There are a number of suppliers offering green electricity in the United Kingdom. In theory these types of tariffs help to lower carbon dioxide emissions by increasing consumer demand for green electricity and encouraging more renewable energy plant to be built. Since Ofgem's 2014 regulations there are now set criteria defining what can be classified as a green source product. As well as holding sufficient guarantee of origin certificates to cover the electricity sold to consumers, suppliers are also required to show additionality by contributing to wider environmental and low carbon funds.
Renewable energy in the United Kingdom can be divided into production for electricity, heat, and transport.
Sustainable development in Scotland has a number of distinct strands. The idea of sustainable development was used by the Brundtland Commission which defined it as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." At the 2005 World Summit it was noted that this requires the reconciliation of environmental, social and economic demands - the "three pillars" of sustainability. These general aims are being addressed in a diversity of ways by the public, private, voluntary and community sectors in Scotland.
Greenhouse gas emissions by Australia totalled 533.36 million tonnes CO
2-equivalent based on Greenhouse Gas national inventory report data for 2019; representing per capita CO2e emissions of 21.03 tons. Australia uses principally coal power for electricity but this is rapidly decreasing with a growing share of renewables making up the energy supply mix, and most existing coal-fired power station scheduled to cease operation between 2022-2048. Emissions by the country have started to fall and are expected to continue to fall in coming years as more renewable projects come online.
Feed-in tariffs in the United Kingdom were announced in October 2008 and took effect from April 2010. They were entered into law by the Energy Act of 2008. It closed to new applicants on 31 March 2019.
The United Kingdom is committed to legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets of 34% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008. Decarbonisation of electricity generation will form a major part of this reduction and is essential before other sectors of the economy can be successfully decarbonised.