The new President-elect of the United States might not believe it, but climate change is a very real and a very big issue facing us all. Harmful carbon emissions are damaging our planet, and it’s up to each country of the world to take measures to protect our environment and slow down climate change – but what exactly is the United Kingdom doing to tackle carbon emissions?

The UK is monitored by the Committee on Climate Change (the CCC), who are looking for several developments:

  • Windfarms – The CCC monitors the UK’s progress in building windfarms – both onshore and out at sea. Though some lambast wind turbines as an unsightly blot on the British landscape, they’re far more environmentally friendly and, arguably, far less of an eyesore than the nuclear power plants of old.
  • Electric vehicles – Technological advancements are key to cutting carbon emissions, and the UK government is also being measured by its ability to grow the electric vehicles market.
  • Insulation – Another key area that the UK must tackle is the effective heating and insulation of our homes. The amount of lofts and walls being insulated is being monitored, along with the number of boilers that are upgraded to more energy efficient models.

So, how are we doing?

The Committee on Climate change measures the country through something called the ‘carbon budget’, which was introduced with The Climate Change Act in 1990. The carbon budget is divided into four year periods, and is used by the CCC to monitor how well our national targets are being met.

In each period, the UK must reduce its carbon emissions by a certain amount when compared to the levels seen in 1990. For instance, in the first carbon budget period we were required to cut our carbon emissions by 23% compared to the base level in 1990. In this period, which ran from 2008-2012, we met this target well, and in the current 2013-2017 period we’re on course to do the same. This is a positive trend that we are on course to continue into the third period, from 2018 to 2022. However, the CCC are predicting we will fail to meet our target in the fourth carbon budget, when we are required to get our carbon emissions down by 50% on 1990 levels.

This forecast suggest the UK still needs to do more to tackle carbon emissions. So, what do you think should be done? Is the Government doing enough to tackle carbon emissions?

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