Government pressed on energy efficiency

Business leaders, environmentalists and MPs are calling on the Government to take action to ensure its dream of energy efficiency becomes a solid reality.

Getting housing right is key to making energy savings on a national scale

Getting housing right is key to making energy savings on a national scale

The Joint Statement on Energy Efficiency was launched by Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust on Wednesday and outlines 11 steps that signatories believe would help Government reach its 'ultimate ambition' of using every unit of energy as efficiently as possible.

The statement points out that the impending Energy White Paper would be a perfect opportunity to legislate for energy efficiency and help make significant cuts to the UK's carbon emissions.

"Within the last year, we have seen a tipping point being reached by politicians and public alike with regards to climate change," said Mr Sellwood at the Westminster launch.

"No longer is debate about whether there is climate change but rather how it can be avoided.

"The general public, as well as understanding some of the scientific principles of climate change, are also starting to recognise the link between their own individual behaviour and the impact that has on the Earth's environment.

"Around 50% of the UK's emissions come from the domestic sector. Householders can make a difference here and now by the purchasing and lifestyle choices they make and the business world can play a crucial part by giving consumers more sustainable choices in the products and services they offer."

Some of the steps proposed in the statement are simple to implement while others are more radical.

Among the moves called for are:

  • Continuing to lead on a stronger and broader EU Emissions Trading Scheme including working for tighter caps across the EU and the inclusion of aviation.

  • Pressing ahead with proposals to require all new homes to be carbon neutral by 2016 and increased roll out of incentives and advice to help householders reduce energy consumption in existing homes.

  • Pushing for the expansion of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive to cover all major commercial buildings.

  • Setting clear mandatory requirements for energy efficiency in building refurbishment projects.

  • Pressing the European Union to reinstate the requirement for average emissions from new cars to reach the 120g CO2/km target by 2012 through vehicle technology improvements.

  • Toughening up the proposed mandatory UK Energy Performance Commitment.

    Merlin Hyman, director of the Environmental Industries Commission, said: "There is a consensus in leading business and environmental organisations and in Parliament on the need for a step change in Government policy on energy efficiency to help tackle climate change.

    "The Joint Statement on Energy Efficiency sets out clear and achievable steps to deliver that change."

    "Climate change is the single greatest threat we face, and the Government have rightly identified energy demand reduction as the most effective approach to tackling both dangerous climate change and energy security. However gradual progress is not enough - we need this rhetoric to be turned into urgent action."

    Sam Bond

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