Climate Change; Four Things The UK Could Do To Tackle It

The government is set to share their plan to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions very soon.

The targets they’ve signed up to are pretty ambitious as they plan to set a strong example to other countries before the COP26 world leaders meeting in November.

The government have said they’ll drastically reduce emissions by 2035 and put the UK on target to be net-zero by 2050. This means the UK will absorb as much carbon dioxide as we emit through methods like planting trees.

As the UK are hosts of the meeting in Glasgow, we need to show we don’t just have a plan but are also ready to act. The Queen and Greta Thunberg having basically said, less talking, more doing.

What we can potentially expect from the net-zero strategy…

Taxing Carbon

The UK does kind of have a tax on carbon emissions as industries have to pay for permits and there are also fuel duties.

As you can expect economists are in favour of the idea; charge people to burn carbon giving them an incentive not to.

However, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) make a point that tax breaks would be more effective. 

These companies are exactly the ones that need to make massive investments to reduce their carbon footprint, says Tom Thackray, programme director for decarbonisation at the CBI. “There’s a case for supporting them not financially penalising them.”

Another theory is a direct tax on the things we buy.

Although it doesn’t cost the government anything and could even increase revenue a bit it means increasing the price of goods for society’s poorest which is unfair.

Those who’re in favour of the carbon taxes believe using the money to decrease the cost of fruit and veg or public transport is a workaround.

What do you think?

More street/public charging

We know the switch to electric vehicles (EV) is well underway as they’re becoming more common than ever but, there’s a problem… Not enough charging points. 

According to the AA, around 30% of homeowners don’t have access to a charging point at home or work.

It’s proposed by MPs that property developers must include public charging points and councils should build charging infrastructure. 

However, this may mean remote, rural and low-income areas are at risk of being left behind it the commercial sector is left to install charging points argues E3G’s Nick Mabey.

There have been suggestions to turn more streetlamps into charging points which is already been trialled. 

The charging will be slower than a custom charging point but relatively cheap to install. But above everything, local councils need to be backed financially to make sure the charging points are rolled out for everyone. 

Subsidise warmth

Just about everyone agrees we need to change the way we heat our homes as a priority. 

We can expect the government to make it clear how they will meet previous plans on insulating homes especially social housing and promote a switch to cleaner heating methods.

We may see a date set to end the sale of gas boilers. There are cleaner alternatives to gas boilers; heat pumps. They have similar running costs as a typical heating system, but the hefty installation cost of around £6000 and upwards put most people off.

The CBI said the businesses they represent agree the government need to “get the ball rolling” as long as the price of the heat pumps come down in the long run so gas and other boilers can be phased out.

Cut the meat rate

Prince Charles has two meat-free days a week and the government could be calling more of us to follow suit. 

Although they may be disinclined to tell shoppers what should go in their shopping basket a survey by ThinkTank found around 90% of us would be in favour of a campaign led by the government to reduce dairy and meat consumption.

Another more radical option is to increase the tax on meat and dairy and lower the tax on fruit and veg to try and influence what we buy.

Although this idea appears to be taken off the table by the government earlier this year saying they will not put tax “on the great British banger or anything else”.

Chief executive of Demos, Polly Mackenzie said: “We’ve repatriated control of agricultural subsidies because of Brexit,” she says. “We can change what we pay farmers to do, shift that effort and investment into encouraging rewilding, better upland land management, reforestation.”

What are your thoughts on these potential methods to fight climate change in the UK?

Want to keep up with the latest news? Check out the rest of our articles here and for all things sports click here.

Sharing is Caring