t-mac summarises the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the UK’s climate goals, what this means for UK businesses and how they might prepare for these changes, as well as a stunning figure that has emerged from the epicentre of the crisis.
A bump in the road
The disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has been all-encompassing and, while it seems like the worst is over, incredibly detrimental to the global economy. As a result, questions are now being raised about the capacity and willingness of nations to make good on the agreements decided at the Paris climate talks in 2015.
Among these nations, the UK features prominently and comparisons are beginning to be drawn between the UK’s response to COVID-19 and its response to climate disaster. Unfortunately the actions being taken are considered too ‘soft’ or voluntary in order to realistically combat either challenge.
The current fear is that COVID-19 might eclipse the threat of climate change and thereby diminish the motivation to prevent it or worse, think of the economic slowing as sufficient in achieving these goals rather than an example of how to.
Indeed, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) anticipates that this year’s annual emissions will only have dropped by approximately 7%, with 2020 still expected to be the hottest year on record. According to Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Met Office, this drop is barely significant in a global context and often surpassed by annual weather events.
“You’d need about a 10% drop to have a noticeable effect on the rising CO2 concentrations, but even then concentrations would still be rising… ”
Given that an annual drop of 7.6% in carbon emissions is needed to stay on the right side of 1.5C, there are concerns that morale may be dampened by this knowledge.
However businesses and nations alike should not be discouraged by these revelations, China’s CO2 emissions saw a 25% reduction throughout February.
Climate neutral by 2050 is the maxim of the European Green Deal, with at least €1tn being invested in sustainable development over the next ten years. 2020 is a watershed year for Europe as it is when the climate objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy are due to bear fruit, one of which was to improve energy efficiency by 20%
Finding the path
Efficiency is key to success in our climate goals as a nation and a species, improved efficiency is a way of reducing demand without cutting back usage and therefore favourable at all levels of industry.
The UK government’s interaction with businesses on the subject of climate targets has been characterised by a focus on improving energy efficiency.
The foundation for sound energy policy and efficient usage is a robust and digestible data stream which, as COVID-19 has demonstrated, cannot always be achieved with solely human oversight.
As such, automatic metering and their remote functionality are becoming crucial in maintaining energy efficiency throughout crises like COVID-19 and informing energy policy as we move out of lockdown.
However, automated readings can only provide information necessary to formulate effective strategy, in order to action that strategy on-site, automation of another degree is required.
t-mac’s bespoke BMS package and real-time metering solutions can answer both of these needs under a single banner. The combination of both technologies means that businesses and site managers will be secure in their ability to collect, collate and respond to energy usage data as it is received.