February Climate Change Policy Review
The latest policy review from our Policy and Strategy Lead, Sean Morris.
INTERNATIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS
Latest IPCC report provides bleakest assessment to date
IPCC Headline Statement report, 28th February
The report provides a detailed assessment of climate change impacts, risks and adaptation in cities. People’s health, lives and livelihoods, as well as property and critical infrastructure, including energy and transportation systems, are being increasingly adversely affected by hazards from heatwaves, storms, drought and flooding as well as slow-onset changes, including sea level rise. Find out more here.
UK GOVERNMENT CLIMATE POLICY
Government ’levelling-up’ paper ‘sidelines’ Net Zero in new plans for regional economies
The UK Government has promised to bring public transport networks outside of London "much closer" to the capital's standard in this decade as part of its long-awaited Levelling Up White Paper. Despite this, the general consensus is that zero carbon opportunities have been largely missed.
UK must move faster to insulate homes - climate chief
The UK must do more to insulate the country's draughty homes, warns the UK’s climate change chief. Chris Stark, head of the UK's Climate Change Committee, told the BBC he rates government policy on insulation and retrofitting as "very poor".
Government introduces two energy efficiency schemes for social housing
The Government launches two schemes totalling £248 million to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty. It will see money diverted from government to local authorities who will organise invitations to households to book in for free wall and roof insultation and replacement heating systems.
UK green economy has failed to grow since 2014, official figures show
The UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy has not grown since 2014, according to official data, which also show a fall in the number of green jobs. The number of green businesses operating in the UK fell by 13% over the six-year period, while the combined turnover for the low-carbon economy fell by almost 6% to £41.2bn.
LOCAL AUTHORITY NET ZERO INITIATIVES
Manchester third in league table on climate action plans
Climate Emergency UK, 15th February
Climate Emergency UK assessed plans according to 28 questions across nine sections, based on the expert-approved checklist for Council Action Plans. Each council was marked against these criteria and given a right to reply before the scores underwent a final audit. This work was completed between June and December 2021. In the tables the city of Manchester was placed third in the UK for the amount of work undertaken on its climate action plans.
Greater Manchester delays launch of Clean Air Zone
The Government has given local authorities in Greater Manchester permission to delay the launch of the local Clean Air Zone, after businesses said they would need more time to prepare due to the impacts of Covid-19.
London unveils new £90 million green bond investment
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has unveiled a new £90m green bond investment aimed at mobilising around £500m in spending for low-carbon projects that combat rising energy bills and build towards the city's net-zero target.
Leeds gives green light to major expansion of city district heating network
Leeds City Council has approved ambitious plans to expand the city's district heating network - a scheme that will potentially almost double the amount of low-carbon heat supplied to businesses and homes each year.
Developing a climate resilient Glasgow – major research programme announced
Scientists are starting work on a large-scale research programme that will help transform Glasgow into a thriving, climate resilient city and support its ambition to reach net zero by 2030. University of Glasgow researchers will cooperate with Glasgow City Council to create transformation projects across the city and embed sustainability into the wider socio-political system as part of a project called Gallant, or "Glasgow as a Living Lab Accelerating Novel Transformation".
ENERGY EMISSIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Investment urgently needed in UK energy storage
Major investment is urgently needed to roll out up to 24GW of long-duration energy storage in the UK over the next 15 years to help smooth operation of the grid as it contends with a rapid influx of intermittent wind power capacity, Aurora Energy Research has warned.
UK solar market shows strongest growth in six years
2021 has been heralded as "potentially the most significant year to date" for the UK's solar industry, which added 730MW of new capacity, an increase of 36% compared to 2020 levels. According to the body, some 369MW installed in 2021 was rooftop solar, the highest total since 2015. The 2015 levels were much higher given the “significant” subsidies available to solar at the time.
TRANSPORT EMISSIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Heathrow updates sustainability strategy but critics call it greenwashing
Heathrow Airport has updated its sustainability strategy with new targets on waste, water and carbon - but campaign groups have called the pledges to cut emissions "pifflingly small" with a "limited" scope.
PUBLIC OPINION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate activists and supportive politicians are failing to convince the public on benefits of decarbonisation
Some climate activists and politicians are failing to persuade significant proportions of the population of the benefits of decarbonising the economy, and may even be hindering environmental action, a new report has warned.
Friends of the Earth / Ashden report outlines net zero role of Councils in work and skills strategies
Friends of the Earth, 3rd February
Friends of the Earth and Ashden have published a 35-page report on the positive role Councils can play in promoting net zero work and skills strategies. The report has some similarities with the Green Alliance report which focused on the number of green jobs needed across each sector of employment.
‘Carbon footprint gap’ between rich and poor expanding study finds
Wealthy people have disproportionately large carbon footprints and the percentage of the world’s emissions they are responsible for is growing, a study has found. In 2010, the most affluent 10% of households emitted 34% of global CO2, while the 50% of the global population in lower income brackets accounted for just 15%. By 2015, the richest 10% were responsible for 49% of emissions against 7% produced by the poorest half of the world’s population.