Opinion

Will the recent IPCC report galvanise consumer action?

A recent report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), revealed that many impacts of climate change are now impossible to stop and models a serious and quite bleak future should no action be taken.

It is regarded as ‘a code red for humanity’ but the report also confirms that heavy reductions in global carbon emissions would limit climate change overall; with air quality improving rapidly and global temperatures taking between 20 to 30 years to stabilise – so not all hope is lost.

In a recent article, Isoenergy, consultants and installers of renewable energy systems, looked at where action can be taken to avoid the impending climate disaster and concludes that it falls to the ‘few’ to lead the way for the ‘many’. As a company who, along with their clients, have been focussed over the last 16 years on making a real difference by cutting commercial and domestic carbon emissions Isoenergy considers where problems arise and what solutions there may be.

Globally, heating accounts for half of all energy requirements and 40% of total carbon dioxide emissions. In the UK alone, 15% of our greenhouse gas emissions comes from residential heat of which 96% of those emissions are CO2. This is an issue, for many years now there have been viable solutions to dramatically reduce this figure, but the market has been slow to adopt these necessary changes.

Heat pumps can reduce carbon emissions by up to 70% when compared to heating oil, or 60% when compared to burning mains gas. They are at their most effective when combined with solar panels and can provide domestic hot water, summer pool heating or even cooling with virtually no emissions and little to no running costs during high irradiance days.

Jochen Hauff, director of policy at BayWa r.e., believes that policy often does not match with the speed of the climate crisis and says there is a need to bring local political processes up to speed with the big commitments to green energy at a global and national level: “The summary of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report confirms that the dynamics of climate change are proceeding as forecast, that the tipping points of the climatic system have been triggered and dynamic feedback loops of worsening climate change have become a reality.” Jochen says. “This was all forecast and spelled out to policy makers more than 20 years ago in the IPCC’s second assessment report.”

“Unlike 20 years ago, we now have the technologies to lower greenhouse gas emissions drastically at our disposal at affordable cost. Solar and wind solutions can generate more power from the same footprint than ever before. However, the targets outlined at a national and international level do not take into account the changes required at a local level and we are increasingly seeing that the pace of innovation is moving faster than local policy allows. Policy makers must focus on local education to overcome legislative barriers and gain community trust, thereby ensuring that the implementation of renewable energy technologies matches the speed of the climate crisis.”

It appears that humans can still determine the future course of climate and the health of the planet.
“Stabilising the climate will require strong, rapid, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reaching net zero carbon emissions. Limiting other greenhouse gases and air pollutants, especially methane, could have benefits both for health and the climate”, said IPCC Working Group Co-Chair Panmao Zhai.

Whilst the report, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson commented, “makes for sobering reading” and shows “the next decade is going to be pivotal to securing the future of our planet” it seems it is having the desired effect of ensuring this vital message is being conveyed to the consumer. Done effectively, this will increase awareness of, and desire for, renewable energy solutions.

Have you seen an increase in urgency in your customers since the publication of the report?

Let us know: news@renewableenergyinstaller.co.uk