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THE GREENEST GOVERNMENT EVER

In response to concern for the global warming effect of greenhouse gases GHG in the upper atmosphere and associated adverse changes in the world climate the United Nations Convention on Climate Change agreed The Kyoto Protocol in 1997 to commit industrialised nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

As of September 2011, 191 nations have ratified the protocol, excepting the United States, Afghanistan, Andorra and South Sudan

in 2008 the UK Labour government passed the Climate Change Act 2008,  leading the world with the most stringent legally binding targets for reductions in green house gas  emissions,. The Act requires the government to incremental reductions leading to a 80% total reduction by 2050 over 1990 levels.

A UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory keeps, kept by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, track of National Atmospheric Emissions form all sources – published in the National Statistics release by end user each year – recording emissions from energy supply, transport, residential business and other sectors.

This set in motion legislation on emissions from buildings, industries and transport to spur energy consumers and producers to reduce demand through energy conservation and alternative non fossil fuel energy production.

The Building Regulations set limits on heat losses from buildings and efficiency of heating systems for new buildings and targets for upgrading existing buildings. The Code for Sustainable Housing set energy and water standards for housing and the Standard Assessment Procedure SAP for rating and labelling appliances and homes.

To date the UK has managed to meet its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol, exceeding  total emissions target up to 2011.

The UK coalition government has vowed to be ‘the greenest government ever’ and has introduced incentives to the financing of alternative energy installations – the Warmer Front and latterly the Green Deal backed by the Green Bank, for energy efficiency improvements in the home , Feed In Tariff FIT, for on site solar PV and wind generation, Renewable Heat Premium Payment for renewable heating technologies and the Carbon Trust Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme for Businesses

All of these policies and initiatives have generated a growing industry in energy efficiency and conservation, but to date the scale of investment does not match the scale and rate of emissions reductions necessary to achieve the 2050 80% target. The recently announced policy that all new housing must be ‘zero carbon’ from 2016 must be followed by similar requirement for all other new and existing building to be zero carbon.

The economic advantages of reducing dependence on fossil fuels are the prize that Germany, Austria  and the Scandinavian countries have been building to the higher energy efficiency standards of PassivHaus,  before Kyoto , in the interests of energy efficiency, gaining  national security and economic competitiveness and removing the risk of fuel poverty. Going green is also going for health, wealth and happiness.

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