A guest post by Grace Reed.
The 2008 Climate Change Act was introduced in order to reduce the level of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK over the coming decades and EU leaders have recently signed up to a landmark deal that aims to achieve a 40% reduction by 2030 compared to what they were in 1990.
This is a legally-binding agreement that was not actually achieved without a fair amount of additional hot air being expounded in Brussels, due to some vociferous discussions and positioning to protect various members’ interests.
Modest progress on targets
Environmental groups have welcomed the deal that has been struck but still insist that the measures have not gone far enough.
There were deep divisions exposed within the EU members with regard to the level of emissions cuts but at least they managed to agree to boost the use of renewable energy to 27% within the total energy mix, and to increase energy efficiency to at least 27% as well, but hopefully attain a higher percentage. The UK Energy Secretary Ed Davey went as far as describing the recent deal as an “historic moment”, pointing out that the number of European countries with clear climate targets beyond 2020, has increased from 5 to 28 as a result of the agreement.
You can get more information on greenhouse gas emissions statistics by visiting the Gov.uk site.
How You Can Help
The UK may have its targets, but everyone can do their bit to cut their greenhouse gas emissions irrespective of laws and regulations put in place by the government.
The first thing that you can do is choose your energy company carefully. Many companies are now implementing more renewable energy schemes. For example, npower has built wind farms and has also been involved in various green projects over recent years.
The most important thing to do, however, is to try and change your habits when it comes to energy usage. There are many simple things that you can do right now to reduce your energy use on a daily basis. For example, you could turn off the lights every time you go out of the room, turn off your TV rather than leaving it on standby, make sure computers and gadgets are not left charging longer than they need to be, choose electrical devices that use less energy, and use low-energy light bulbs.
In addition, there are many bigger changes that you could make around your home to make an even larger saving when it comes to reducing your greenhouse gas emissions. One of the simplest things that you can do is to install better insulation in your home. You could do this in the loft or in the walls, and it can help to cut your heating bills dramatically.
In addition, you could install solar panels on your roof if you have a suitable space available. Or you could change your old windows for double-glazing windows, which can again help to save energy and reduce your bills as well as making your home more comfortable to live in.
Aim for a Low-Carbon Lifestyle
The UK may or may not hit its climate change targets by 2050, but we can all make a difference by changing our energy habits. How could you reduce the amount of energy you use around the home? Start by making simple changes and then consider other options like increasing the insulation in your home, then you can make sure that, whatever happens where the UK’s targets are concerned, you are doing your bit in the fight against climate change.
Grace Reed is an environmental researcher. An avid blogger, she likes to research and write about practical and innovative ways to save our planet. Her articles mainly appear on homeowner blogs.