In 1997 the UK and most other world governments (with the notable exceptions of the US, China and India) signed the ‘Kyoto Protocol’. The Kyoto Protocol was established to make huge reductions to our greenhouse gas emissions, in a bid to reduce our impact on global warming. This would reduce energy wastage, reduce our use and dependence on heavily polluting and finite fossil fuels, and increase our use of sustainable renewable resources. These are two of the UK targets:
- Reduce CO2 emissions 20% by 2020
- Reduce CO2 emissions 80% by 2050
- So far we’ve only reduced them by 7%
Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT)
This initiative was founded in direct response to the Kyoto Protocol, to help reach our targets. It’s focussed on reducing wasted energy, carbon emissions and consumption.
Stage 1 – Cavity & loft insulation
The scheme first reduced domestic heat loss by providing free cavity and wall insulation for certain households. Reducing heat loss means that less energy is required to heat a house, reducing our carbon emissions and saving home-owners money on electricity and gas bills. This ‘free’ insulation was actually paid for by a carbon tax, which we’ve all been paying every month within our energy bills for the past several years. This money was accumulated by the government and used to pay for the insulations.
Stage 2 -Feed-In-Tariffs for renewable energy production
Cutting the amount of energy we use by a small amount is not enough to achieve our Kyoto targets, and nowhere near enough to make-up for our energy demands, for that we have to start generating our own energy too. Stage 2 of the CERT scheme is to fund renewable energy production by way of ‘Feed-In-Tariffs’ (FIT’s).
Solar is the most affordable, convenient, easy to install and efficient means of renewable energy available for households, although other technologies are becoming more widely accessible. Solar is therefore the preferred option for most home-owners, so the government has targeted to increase the current 500,000 UK solar installations to 4 million by 2015, an increase of 3.5 million in two years.