How climate change is influencing UK energy policies.

Blog UK government policies on climate

We’re all aware of climate change, how important it is and how challenging it can be to ‘do our bit’. We know we need to take action. This much is clear.  So here we look at what the government is doing to help bring about the change we need and how it’s responding to the ever-increasing challenges that climate change brings. 

What do we mean by climate change?

Climate change, sustainability, global warming, they’re terms that we’re all familiar with, but it can often get confusing and a little overwhelming. For clarity, when we speak about climate change, we’re talking about long-term changes in our planet’s temperature and weather patterns, primarily driven by deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. 

The result? An increased concentration of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide in our atmosphere adding to the greenhouse effect that traps heat, and leads to a rise in global temperatures. Find out more about climate change with our guide.

What’s at stake?

If we don’t address climate change, the consequences will continue to grow. We risk ever rising sea levels, increasingly extreme weather events and disruptions to our ecosystems. Changes in climate can also have a great impact on agriculture, water resources, and biodiversity, leading to significant challenges for global sustainability.

But don’t panic.

We know that climate change can be a daunting topic to discuss, or even think about for that matter. So, if you're ever feeling overwhelmed or struggle to know what you can do about it, check out our helpful resources on eco-anxiety.

12 key governmental steps in tackling climate change.

Over the years the UK government has made climate change an increasingly high priority. Here we look at twelve of the most significant initiatives and actions taken so far. 

2008: The Climate Change Act. The UK became the first country to introduce legally binding carbon budgets, committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by specific targets over successive five-year periods.

2011: The roll out of smart meters.

The government set out a vision for every home and small business in Great Britain to have smart meters and set an intention to effectively complete the rollout in 2019. Why not see how getting a smart meter can help you save energy and keep track of what you're spending.

2015: The Paris Agreement. As part of a UN agreement, the UK committed to limiting the global temperature rise this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to endeavour to limit the increase even further to 1.5°C.

2017: Coal phase out. The government confirmed that it would regulate the closure of unabated coal power generation units in Great Britain by October 2025. This has since been brought forward to October 2024.

2017: Petrol and diesel vehicle phase out. The government’s ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will come into effect from 2035, pushed back from the original target of 2030 by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Learn more about how you can ditch petrol and diesel and switch to electric.

2019: A net zero strategy. An ambitious plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, it’s an impressive initiative that emphasises our nation's determination in addressing climate change. Read more about the UK’s plans to reach net zero by 2050. 

2019: The offshore wind sector deal. This deal sets a target of generating 30 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from offshore wind farms by 2030, a substantial increase from the existing capacity. 

2020: Ten point plan for a green industrial revolution: The UK’s plan outlined ten key areas of focus, including advancing offshore wind, driving the shift to zero-emission vehicles, and promoting low-carbon hydrogen production.

2020: The Smart Export Guarantee scheme. This scheme ensures that small-scale renewable energy producers, including solar panel owners, can receive payment for excess electricity they export to the grid. Learn more about our Smart Export Guarantee scheme

2020: Green Homes Grant scheme. This programme provided financial support to homeowners and landlords for implementing energy-efficient improvements in their properties, such as insulation and low-carbon heating systems. Although later discontinued, it showed the government’s recognition of the role energy efficiency plays in reducing overall energy demand and mitigating climate change impact.

2021: Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA). An initiative demonstrating the government's commitment to developing new technologies to help address climate change. ARIA has been set up to support high-risk, high-reward research projects, including those focused on advancing clean energy solutions and reducing the environmental impact of energy production.

2023: COP28 The UK played a leading role at COP28 as part of the High Ambition Coalition, pushing for more ambitious climate action globally. Although unsuccessful in calls for accelerated decarbonisation and commitment to phase out fossil fuels. The UK government will now focus on domestic policies to meet its legal net zero target, whilst maintaining hope for a more successful deal at the next climate conference.

The UK tackling climate change.

In conclusion, we can see that climate change has now become a key driver in shaping the direction of energy action and policies in the UK. The government’s response to the growing challenges climate change brings has led to a comprehensive and multifaceted approach to energy strategy and policy making. 

There’s still plenty to do of course, but commitment to net-zero emissions, coupled with several innovative progressive initiatives shows a concerted effort to move towards a more sustainable and resilient energy system. 

What can you do?

So, we’ve seen what our government is doing to tackle climate change, but it’s good to know there’s plenty we can do too. 

Join the renewable revolution.

At E.ON Next, we supply 100% renewable electricity to all our fixed tariff customers. Thinking of fixing your tariff? Take a look at our helpful guide to see if it could be the right choice for your home. Ready to make the switch? Get renewable electricity at your home, check out our fixed tariff deals today. Our fuel mix ensures that every watt of electricity you use whilst you’re on a fixed tariff with us, is backed by a renewable source. Explore E.ON Next's renewable electricity guarantee to learn how you're helping to transform UK energy.

Learn our tips and tricks.

Over 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from our homes, so this is a great place to start. You can reduce your carbon footprint by trying out some simple ways to save energy and cut down your energy use. Why not check out some of our energy saving tips and tricks.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Want to learn more about our business, the energy industry and develop your career, follow us on LinkedIn.

Find us on LinkedIn
Published 25/01/2024