AgilityEco welcomes the publication of the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC's) advice to Government in its report “Independent Assessment of UK Climate Risk”.
The report makes clear that climate change is with us now. Even if the Paris commitments on reducing emissions are met, the CCC sets out that by 2050 the UK will see heatwaves as regular summer occurrences and rainfall reducing by 24% in the summer while increasing by 16% in the winter.
What does this mean for our homes? The CCC identifies 8 risk areas requiring urgent action. One of these is the risk of power system failures, largely due to a more central role for electricity in transport, heat and industry. At AgilityEco we see the answer to this resting to a large extent on as much diversity as possible in our energy system and Government fully exploring the key role that hydrogen can play.
Another of the 8 risk areas is the risk to human health and wellbeing from increased exposure to heat in our homes and other buildings. The Committee cites 2,500 heat-related deaths as a result of the 2020 heatwave. To combat this, homes need to be warm in winter, moisture safe, have good air quality and also be cool in summer.
Not only does the design of new homes need to factor in all these requirements but, as the CCC recognises, they also need to be integrated into energy efficiency retrofit schemes. We look forward to discussing with Government and other stakeholders how schemes such as the Energy Company Obligation can help provide good insulation, efficient heating systems and the right levels of ventilation.
It is also worth mentioning that the CCC sets out 10 principles for good adaptation. One of these is addressing inequalities. The report states that “Climate change is likely to widen existing inequalities through its disproportionate effects on socially and economically disadvantaged groups”.
As well as helping vulnerable and low-income households to move out of fuel poverty, at AgilityEco we believe the UK must at the same time ensure that those households don’t face the greatest hardships from climate change.
The full report can be downloaded here.