The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has released its annual report to Parliament, assessing the progress the UK has made in reducing emissions over the past year. The report confirms that emissions are now 40% below 1990 levels as a result of a 2.3% reduction in 2018. Yet with this majorly being down to the power sector, economy-wide progress continues to hold us back.

In summary, the UK has fallen behind climate objectives and is ill-prepared for the impacts of global warming. Greater action is required in order to both prepare for and tackle climate change and we must deliver progress with far greater urgency than we have seen so far. Following the legislation of the net-zero target last month, the CCC outlines several priorities that the Government now needs to address. These include new and stronger policies, with transport and housing being key areas of focus.

NIBE would like to take the opportunity to mirror the recommendations of these priorities today and to strengthen the call for a major policy effort that goes beyond the power sector. Whilst we can applaud the contribution that policies have made to emission reductions in that sector, urgent progress needs to be made elsewhere. Since the Climate Change Act was passed over 10 years ago, we have seen no serious plan for heat decarbonisation or improvements to the efficiency of our housing stock despite 40% of emissions coming from buildings in the UK.

It is no surprise to see that the report today has addressed the potential of heat pumps, highlighting that no large-scale trials have begun, and that far more policy needs to be put in place. Recommendations from the CCC include the rebalancing of subsidy towards a capital grant to aid their deployment given that residential sales remain below the levels required.

Phil Hurley, Managing Director of NIBE commented:

“We are committed to tackling housing emissions here in the UK and agree with the recommendations set out in the CCC progress report today. It is clear that not enough is being done and NIBE is committed to ensuring that the right policies are introduced so that we can bring down emissions from buildings at the earliest opportunity. Our message at NIBE is clear. We need to replace fossil fuel heating systems with low-carbon solutions such as heat pumps. There are many timely challenges to address, including the skills gap and introducing incentives to encourage investment, if we are to see a greater deployment of heat pumps in homes across the UK. However, the CCC report comprehensively sets out how this could be achieved through a stable policy framework. There is no scope for postponing these strategies, particularly if we are to meet the net zero target on time. We must do it now.”

2019 Progress Report to Parliament