The majority of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions arise from our production and consumption of energy – whether that’s heating our buildings, driving cars, manufacturing goods or simply boiling a kettle. Emissions can be lowered by taking steps to become more 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 related emissions in areas like waste and agriculture.
Using energy more efficiently
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, fuel-efficient vehicles, more efficient boilers and appliances, and by 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. This means moving away from using conventional coal and gas-fired power towards electricity generated from nuclear power, renewable sources, and new technologies such as carbon capture and storage. It means an increasing share of alternatively-powered vehicles like electric cars, and eventually it will mean a shift away from using fossil fuels for heating too.