This post is by Dr Richard Lowes, from the University of Exeter’s Energy Policy Group.
Even if the UK meets its goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and other countries follow similar paths, the risk of pushing the world beyond 1.5°C of warming is still significant.
The difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is genuinely upsetting (including, but not limited to, expected irreversible damage to key ecosystems such as coral reefs and mangroves, and unmanageable coastal zone damage). I won’t comment on what going beyond 2°C looks like.
This post is by Jan Rosenow, director of European programmes at the Regulatory Assistance Project, Pedro Guertler, programme leader at E3G, and Richard Lowes, research fellow at Exeter University.
The UK has made incredible strides in decarbonising its power system beyond what many thought was possible. Carbon emissions were at a record low over the recent Easter weekend. While heat pumps have been seen as a strategically important sustainable heat technology for years, the rapid progress in the power sector offers an urgent opportunity to decarbonise heating whilst supporting the integration of renewables.
Heat pumps are not a new technology; the principles underlying their operation were described by Lord Kelvin in the 1850s. On the wall of the boiler room of the Pimlico District Heating Scheme you will find a Times article from the 1950s proposing a heat pump as a replacement for the then common open coal fire.
But while they are common on the Continent, their uptake in the UK has been low, with cheap gas from the North Sea displacing most other domestic heating sources from the 1970s onward. Read more