I am of the belief that most of us are at least aware of climate change. Surely now, we all understand that fossil fuels are polluting our atmosphere and that we must reduce our carbon footprint to protect generations to come. Policymakers themselves have raised awareness of the pressing issue over the years, attracting public attention and evoking environmental support. Of course, this has only made it more frustrating when policy and climate action hasn’t followed through. It has also, unequivocally, driven civilians onto the streets in protest as the ecological crisis grows. With the extinction rebellion quadrupling in support over the Easter holidays, Sir David Attenborough’s recent climate change documentary couldn’t have come at a better time.
Bleak and blunt in its account of the world and where it is headed, the hour-long documentary gives a sobering account of the damage that has already been done. As Attenborough presents the implications of our warming planet, each revelation was as prevalent as the last and the message was clear throughout. We must make changes, and we must make them fast. Our forests have sucked up a third of our emissions, our sea levels have risen 20cm in the last 100 years and we are approaching trigger points which will take us to a point of no return. To continue burning fossil fuels and to push on with this cycle of denial is beyond comprehension when there are so many resources and technologies to help us transition to a cleaner economy.
Chris Stark, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change reiterated the need to shift our energy systems away from fossil fuels that produce greenhouse emissions. He did well to declare that ‘the costs of action are dwarfed by the cost of inaction.’ With the rapid deduction in the price of renewable power and the development innovative technologies, we have the know-how to prevent further damage from being done.
In my previous blogs, I have already demonstrated my support of the sightings set out in the committee on Climate Change’s latest Housing Report. The report was congruous with NIBE’s policy pathway to developing a viable heat pump market.The two reports set out the importance of future-proofing new build homes and called on policy that ensures no new homes are built on the gas grid.
Perhaps, the public were taken aback by the emissions statistics set out in the documentary, with a big portion attributed to heat at 25%. Unfortunately, this was not a surprise to me. Such statistics have been the driving force of NIBE throughout our campaigns to offer low-carbon heat pump solutions to consumers. This statistic only confirms just how important it is to make sure our homes are more efficient in order to preserve our natural world for the years to come.
I once again urge the Government to mitigate the end of fossil fuels in these homes by the beginning of 2020 in order to avoid more damage being done. As we strive towards the phasing out of fossil fuels, it is of course promising to see that Britain broke its coal-free power record over the Easter weekend, trumping the previous record of 76 hours and 10 minutes with over 90 hours by Monday afternoon.
If we are to move forward, however, we must go further and aim to reduce our reliance on all fossil fuels including those used to heat our homes. With added pressure from the public as more and more people grow passionate about climate change, perhaps the Government will pursue what needs to be done. This pressure coincides with the legally binding targets, calling on us to half emissions by 2030 and to reach zero-emissions by 2050. However, with 6.8 tonnes of greenhouse gases emitted per head in the UK last year, we certainly have a long way to go.
There is no doubt about it. Our world is getting hotter and hotter and it will continue to do so unless we change our ways. With so many of our emissions being stored in our trees and oceans, how much longer can we abide the dying corals or the mass deforestation that adds CO2 into the atmosphere. If wildfires, expanding oceans, melting ice, rising sea levels or vanishing wetlands don’t bring about the change that is required, I can’t help but wonder what will.