So what were the key outcomes from COP26?

It is one week on from the UK hosting the pivotal COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, but what were the key outcomes and what does it mean for us in the UK? Will we reach our climate goals?

We have been reflecting on the outcomes from the two-week long meeting, which represented a critical moment in humanity’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis. Much attention was given to commitments that intend to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C. Current evidence suggests that temperature rises above this level will seriously threaten low-lying nations and populations around the world, because of increasing risks associated with rising sea levels and extreme weather events.

Global warming is already at 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, and scientists have calculated that restricting temperature rises to 1.5C will requires global emissions to be cut by 45% before 2030. The more temperatures rise, the more serious the consequences the world will have to face.

What announcements were made at the summit?

The negotiations of the newly-dubbed Glasgow Climate Pact were mired in controversy, with last-minute amendments to the agreed text the subject of much media coverage. The pact affirms a commitment to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and recognises that achieving this will require rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions.

A number of significant global pledges were made in pursuit of the above goal:

  • More than 140 countries, representing 90% of current greenhouse gas emissions, pledge to reach net-zero emissions
  • More than 100 countries pledged to actively reverse deforestation by 2030
  • 24 developed countries, and a group of major car manufacturers, committed to working towards all new car and van sales being zero emission globally by 2040.

Additionally, the UK Government announced a number of new initiatives and targets before, during and after the summit:

  • A £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme, designed to incentivise homeowners to install low-carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps, simply and cheaply.
  • All of the UK’s electricity will be generated from clean sources by 2035.
  • New homes and buildings in England will be required by law to install electric vehicle charging points from 2022.

Was COP26 a success?

Expectations for COP26 were always going to be high, and there is no doubt that the commitments made are significant. Perhaps most notably, the agreement reached included the first-ever global commitment to explicitly target action against fossil fuels, calling for a “phasedown of unabated coal” and “phase-out” of “inefficient” fossil-fuel subsidies[1].

Following on from the summit, UK COP President, Alok Shama said:

“What this will be judged on (COP26), is not just the fact that countries have signed up, but on whether they meet and deliver on the commitments.

Collectively we have got this over the line… But as I say, the hard work starts now.[2]

However, many governments and policy experts have been critical of the outcome, arguing it does not secure the commitments needed to guarantee successfully limiting the 1.5C rise. While it is accepted that progress has been made, it will not take effect with the urgency that is required.

 

What can we do to head towards a sustainable future?

Our view is that we should all sharpen our focus on making positive changes to reducing our own greenhouse gas contributions, and in doing so act as advocates for renewable energy and low carbon solutions. As these technologies become more commonplace, they will become more familiar, and the benefits better understood. These positives will continue to generate momentum in the green energy movement, and send a strong, clear message to policy makers. While we naturally welcome the announcement of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (more details below), it is clear already that this scheme needs to expand or be joined by additional commitments for investment in a renewable future for homeowners across the UK.

 

As a supplier and installer of renewable energy technologies, we are committed to working closely with our customers to identify the best possible solutions for their properties and remain focused on making our services as affordable to all as we possibly can.

 

What is the new boiler upgrade scheme?

Just prior to COP26, UK Government announced that households will be able to apply for grants of up to £5,000 towards low-carbon air source heat pumps or ground source heat pumps, with £450 million of funding available. This scheme replaces the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (DRHI), which is coming to an end in March 2022
This grant funding reduces the costs associated with installing a heat pump to make them comparable with those associated with a traditional gas boiler, with up to 90,000 homes set to benefit from the scheme. Applications for grants will open in spring 2022 – at time of writing, no details about the application process or criteria are available, but we will be closely monitoring the development of the scheme and be sure to keep you updated.

In the meantime, if you’d like to familiarise yourself with heat pumps and the fascinating, ultra-efficient technology behind them, we’ve written a handy blog that will tell you everything you need to know.

[1] https://www.carbonbrief.org/cop26-key-outcomes-agreed-at-the-un-climate-talks-in-glasgow?utm_campaign=Subscription%20invite%20&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter

[2] https://ukcop26.org/cop-president-concluding-media-statement/

To find out more, get in touch with Caplor Energy on 01432 860 644

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