This year, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced his plan to reduce the United Kingdom’s environmental impact with renewable energy. Based on his announcement from Manchester, the U.K. will source 100% of its electricity from emission-free sources by 2035. Parliament established the goal of decreasing atmospheric degradation, and it continues to define each step carrying the country towards carbon-neutrality.
Currently, the U.K.’s infrastructure is incompatible with complete renewable electricity sourcing. The country must establish additional energy goals to increase its climate change prevention efforts. Let’s evaluate the potential objectives and assess the current clean power plan.
Key Sustainable Energy Goals
In 2019, the U.K. established the Climate Change Act, which would reduce its general emissions by 80% by 2050. The country developed a carbon budget, restricting its release of greenhouse gases over a half-decade. The Climate Change Committee regulates emissions using carbon-tracking technology.
Climate professionals are zeroing in on the shipping and aviation sector’s pollution, penalizing them for ecological degradation. The U.K. government also developed a net-zero goal to hold companies responsible for carbon offsetting. While the U.K.’s sustainable energy goals are inspiring, they have flaws limiting their effectiveness.
The Climate Change Act solely contains emission-reduction tactics instead of carbon policies. Business owners may struggle to reduce ecological degradation without legal guidelines to follow.
Additionally, the Climate Change Act only targets the U.K. rather than global energy emissions. We need to expand universal sustainability regulations to truly fight climate change. The United Nations attempted to manage global emissions by creating the Paris Agreement.
Challenges With the Paris Agreement
At the Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2015, the United Nations released its plan to minimize adverse environmental effects. The goal is to limit Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5°C beyond pre-industrial rates. Each country that signed the Paris Agreement must develop its own emission reduction plan and present it to the committee.
There are some significant challenges within the global climate change prevention tactic, starting with free riders. The agreement only works when each country contributes equally to the end goal. Regulating nations’ efforts is challenging because of the complexity of industrial pollution and geopolitics.
Some countries and industries within a country minimize their emission reduction efforts hoping someone else will step up to the plate. When multiple nations rely on the sustainable advancements of others, it limits the success of global climate change prevention. Holding each country to the same emission reduction standard is also challenging.
Many environmentalists struggle to determine which countries are responsible for what emissions. Like the U.K. and U.S., post-industrial nations rely on outsourced materials and labour to meet consumer needs. While manufacturing emissions occur in other countries, the consuming nations must still take responsibility for some of the pollution.
Another challenge derives from the varying impacts of energy sources. Countries like China rely heavily on coal for power, which has different effects on the atmosphere than natural gas. Various greenhouse gases produce unique effects, limiting a climate committee’s ability to regulate each country’s impacts.
The Paris Agreement creates an effective starting point for sustainability enhancing efforts, and we must establish more global energy goals to further reduce adverse environmental effects. There are three potential goals countries can establish to truly fight climate change.
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1. Expanding Renewable Energy Project Funding
Nations must develop goals of expanding clean energy funding to minimize their emissions effectively. Many countries prioritize economic gains over natural resource conservation but establishing both as a priority can help power professionals develop successful systems. Regions can profit from renewable energy production by selling their excess electricity.
Developing initial financial support can jumpstart a country’s transition away from its emission-producing energy reliance. The World Energy Investment of 2021 sets a beneficial example for nations minimizing their atmospheric degradation. Nearly 70% of the funding goes towards clean energy production.
The funding supports green technological advancements, renewable system installations, and maintenance costs. If nations develop an independent budget and support global energy investments, we can make significant strides in climate change prevention.
Government officials can also use the funding to create a clean electric grid. Developing supportive green infrastructure requires renewable energy expansions. Energy professionals can expand alternative electricity supplies like biodiesel to improve environmental conditions.
Unlike solar or wind power, biodiesel derives from repurposed natural resources, like vegetable oil and algae. The technology is relatively new, requiring higher funding support than well-established renewable energy sources. Developing abundant clean power sources and creating emission regulations can effectively minimize ecological degradation.
2. Establishing Emission Regulation Committees and Laws
Countries can additionally create climate change prevention committees and strict pollution-reduction laws to minimize ecological degradation. Currently, the lack of accountability for nations and industries allows emissions to accumulate in the atmosphere, limiting its ability to generate life-supporting temperatures on Earth’s surface. When countries regulate emissions and levy fines to those breaking climate change prevention laws, we can increase global environmental sustainability levels.
3. Holding Post-Industrial Nations Responsible for Outsource-Related Emissions
Developing countries, to which post-industrial nations often outsource their labour and emission-emitting facilities, struggle to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Transitioning from a fossil fuel-reliant power grid towards renewable electricity is costly and labour-intensive. We can increase the sustainability of global energy by holding developed nations responsible for their outsource-related emissions.
Countries can create a higher outsourcing tax, where the profits help establish a clean energy grid in developing nations, and additionally take a portion of their sustainability-enhancing funding and use it to expand green infrastructure in other areas.
Starting at Home
Before developing regulations and goals for global energy sources, countries must establish firm plans at home. Independent emission monitoring is a relatively new practice, and ecological engineers are continuously advancing the supporting technologies. While government officials wait for a global monitoring system to arrive, they can increase their clean energy funding, establish effective regulations, and clean up their outsource-related pollution.
By Jane Marsh