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PwC: heating and cooling among next big UK low carbon challenges

Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) identifies emissions from heating and cooling as a vital area of future focus

Curbing emissions resulting from heating and cooling remains one of the key challenges facing the UK in trying to realise its ambitions of becoming a low carbon economy, according to PwC.

The multinational auditing firm’s comments were made as part of analysis making up its 2017 Low Carbon Economy Index (LCEI) report that looks at the progress of G20 nations to decarbonise their economies.

Amidst changing regulations across Europe and internationally over energy use, there is growing commercial and legislative pressure on the broader HVAC industry to consider its environmental impact.

Jonathan Grant, PwC’s director of climate change and a co-author of its LCEI report, argued that in moving forward from the UK’s relative success with decarbonisation, heating technology is expected to be under even more intense pressure to adapt to lower carbon demands.

“We’re using less coal and investing in more renewable power. However this transition away from coal is now nearly complete. The UK now needs to tackle other parts of the economy – whether it’s increasing renewables or efficiency improvements – in order to maintain its position as a climate leader,” said Mr Grant.

“Despite strong performances in reducing carbon emissions particularly within the electricity sector, the UK continues to rely on oil and gas. Tackling transport emissions and heating and cooling will be the next big challenges.”

According to the broader conclusions of PwC’s analysis, the UK was found to be decarbonising at the fastest rate among all the G20 nations last year.

Carbon intensity, which calculates the ratio of emissions produced per unit to GDP, fell by 7.7% in 2017, according to PwC. This change was attributed to a decline in coal consumption, improved energy efficiency initiatives and moderate economic growth.

With the New York Climate Week event currently underway until September 24, UK minister of state for climate change, Claire Perry, pointed to decarbonisation as an opportunity for governments and the private sector to find new opportunities for growth by working together over emissions.

However, in responding to the preliminary findings from PwC’s latest LCEI report, she noted that the government accepted more must be done.

“The upcoming Clean Growth Plan will outline our ambitious plan for reducing emissions in key sectors, while taking advantage of opportunities to grow the economy throughout the 2020s.”

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