Covid-19 and tackling the carbon issue

The carbon issue isn’t going away. But if there’s one positive that can be gleaned from the coronavirus crisis putting large parts of the world on lockdown, it’s that we’ve proven to ourselves that we can cut carbon emissions - if we really want to.

Between 1 July 2019 and 31 December 2019, at least 10% of people who switched energy supplier for both gas & electricity with Uswitch saved £479 or more.

How did coronavirus lockdown affect carbon emissions?

Although we don’t yet know the full extent of the effects that lockdown has had on the environment, initial estimates show that emissions in the UK have been cut by 11% in 2020, so long as figures progress in a linear direction - that’s almost four times the 3% target set by the Committee on Climate Change to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050.

The analysis from Sia Partners, a consulting firm, also shows that during the height of lockdown, when people were told to only go outdoors for essential purposes, emissions were cut by over a third (36%).

This dropped to just over a quarter (27%) as the government began to ease restrictions, but it gives a clear indication that we can all do our bit to help clean up the environment.

Sia Partners analysis is based upon the assumption that schools and workplaces will return to normal by the beginning of October, which then begs the question - how can we keep up this momentum?

Government help to cut carbon emissions

The UK government has announced a £350 million funding package to help with the decarbonisation of heavy industry, construction, space and transport sectors, while also trying to accelerate economic recovery following the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.

Here’s how the funding breaks down:

  • £139 million to support carbon capture and storage technology and the transition from natural gas to clean hydrogen.
  • £149 million to revolutionise heavy industry, including the reuse of waste ash and the development of recyclable steel.
  • £36 million to finance new building methods to improve productivity, building quality while cutting construction costs and emissions.
  • £15 million for the UK Space Agency to launch a national space innovation programme to monitor climate change across the globe.
  • £10 million to support research and development into more efficient electric motors and powerful batteries for the automotive industry.

Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, said: “The UK now has a huge opportunity to cement its place at the vanguard of green innovation, setting an example worldwide while growing the economy and creating new jobs.”

Alok Sharma, the Business and Energy Secretary, added: “This funding will reduce emissions, create green-collar jobs and fuel a strong, clean economic recovery – all essential to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.”

How you can help the fight against climate change

Although the closing down of large industries had a big impact on the reduction of carbon emissions across the globe, we can all do our bit at home to help the environment.

There are a number of ways to cut your carbon footprint and tackle climate change from home, such as:

  • Cutting down on everyday travel
  • Using less energy
  • Installing energy efficient equipment at home (double glazing, new boiler, insulation, etc.)
  • Switch energy supplier for a green energy tariff
  • Be more mindful of the food you buy and consider its carbon footprint

For more tips, check out our blog on How to fight climate change from home. And you can find out more about cutting your carbon footprint in our blog How to reduce your carbon footprint at home.

What is a green energy tariff?

If the environment is your top priority, then it could be worth signing up to a green energy deal which will see your supplier use renewable sources to provide some or all of your gas and electricity.

Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

Les Roberts - Energy Expert at UKPower

If you’ve got an issue with your energy supplier, our consumer champion Les is on hand to help. A decade in consumer affairs means Les understands how confusing energy tariffs can be, so he'll cut through the jargon to help make sure you get the best deal.