A year of the Energy Advice Hub: we look back at 12 months of low carbon promise
One year ago today, the Energy Advice Hub was born: to help businesses navigate an ever-evolving energy and carbon landscape.
And what a year it’s been for the green economy. We’ve taken a look at the major stories that have shaped business action and government policy since September last year.
For many in low carbon business, this remains the elephant in the room. Despite the passage of 12 months, in concrete terms very little has changed.
With the potential of a general election now looming under Boris Johnson, a great many businesses will be praying for clarity on what has become one of the most divisive times in UK political history.
As always, we’ll cover how Brexit will impact on energy compliance and the green economy as events unfold.
Back in June, the then Prime Minister announced a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Since then the aspiration has caused all sorts of debate, but the latest opinion from the likes of the Independent says that, ‘Although the government may be ambitious when it comes to reducing carbon emissions, it is not putting the policies in place.’
The sense appears to be that on net zero, there is something of a disconnect between the top level ambition and the real world policies and actions required to deliver true change.
But, change may be coming. In last week’s Spending Round, the chancellor promised that detailed plans on meeting the 2050 target are to follow later this autumn. We reported the measures that The Committee on Climate Change thinks the government should take – will these be put into action?
The Treasury also said it will provide energy department BEIS with an additional £30m to accelerate progress on developing decarbonisation schemes.
“We’re stepping up our leadership on climate change, with new funding for BEIS to develop new programmes to help meet our net zero commitment by 2050,” added Chancellor Sajid Javid.
Business will be keen to see what real world measures are forthcoming to drive the net zero transformation.
Coal free UK
In the background, massive changes have been occurring to how we power business in this country. In June, the UK’s record-breaking run without coal-fired power ended after lasting 18 days and 6 hours, the National Grid announced.
Environmental Journal wrote that it is anticipated coal-free runs will become the new norm over the summer, as the UK continues to generate its electricity via renewable sources.
This is great news, and we hope to see further progress in 2020, but there remains more to do. BEIS figures released back in March found that while the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 3% in 2018 from 2017, the transport and business sectors are lagging behind with the latter reporting a 0% year-on-year reduction.
What difference does a year really make?
So, is UK business truly meaner and greener a year down the line? Well, it depends on the metrics you choose to look at. In terms of coal, we are. In terms of actual net zero progress, maybe less so. As for Brexit…
What’s truly fascinating is that often, sustainability in business doesn’t always merit the attention it might, a fact highlighted in this recent, fascinating article.
If anything, the takeaway from 2019 for sustainable business then is that the UK as a whole must keep building low carbon momentum, and ensure we maintain and deliver new, and above all practical policies to make this happen.
Brexit may have stymied policy making to a degree, and hijacked the political agenda. But our low carbon laws remain strong and the UK remains a positive place to setup and grow sustainable businesses.
We are intrigued to imagine what we may look back upon again, once another 12 months has passed.