The majority of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions arise from our production and consumption of energy – whether that’s driving cars, manufacturing goods or simply boiling a kettle. Emissions can be lowered by becoming energy efficient and by switching to low-carbon fuels. Both will be necessary to meet UK carbon targets, along with action to tackle non-energy emissions.
Being energy efficient doesn’t mean going without a warm and well-lit home or making big sacrifices. Many energy efficiency measures are low cost and even save money. Whether on a large-scale, or at the individual level, there are many opportunities to save energy through better insulation, more efficient boilers and appliances, using heating controls and lights more efficiently.
Switching to low-carbon fuels
But even the most efficient modern economy will need to contend with significant energy demand. So it’s essential to progress towards an energy system based on fuels with low, or no-carbon, content (de-carbonisation). This means moving away from using conventional coal and gas-fired power to electricity generated from nuclear power, renewable sources, and new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
How the UK is progressing
The CCC tracks the latest emissions data against carbon budgets to assess whether the UK and the devolved administrations are on course to meet emissions reduction targets. This progress is reported annually to the UK and devolved Parliaments.
Carbon budgets: how we monitor emissions targets
The Climate Change Act established a target for the UK to significantly reduce its emissions by 2050. To ensure that regular progress is made the Act also established a system of five-yearly carbon budgets to serve as stepping stones on the way.