How behavioural change is needed to meet climate targets

In order to reach carbon reduction targets by 2050, there needs to be a change in the public’s behaviour when it comes to the consumption of food and clothes and modes of transport used.

That is the stark warning of the government’s chief environmental scientist, Pro Sir Ian Boyd, who has outlined the challenges faced in pursuit of net-zero emissions within the next three decades.

Importing red meat and cheap clothes and things like flying abroad will need to be kept in check, he argues, if the United Kingdom is to take the lead in tackling climate change.

In support of this argument, research has shown that providing free transport passes or bike rentals can encourage mode shifts by interrupting entrenched habits.

In an interview with BBC News, Sir Ian stated strong persuasive political leadership – and taxation on bad behaviours – was needed in order to get everyone aligned towards the same goal.

Consumption out of control

“We like to consume things, but the more we consume the more we absorb the resources of the planet,” he said.

“That means we have to grow those resources or we have to mine them – and in doing that we generate waste. And consumption is going up all the time.

“(There’s) a conundrum – how do we shift ourselves from consuming? We need to do more about learning to live sustainably. We talk about sustainability but we don’t really know what it means.

“We need to make major technological advances in the way we use and reuse materials but we (also) need to reduce demand overall – and that means we need to change our behaviours and change our lifestyles.

The graph below from the BEIS (2019) gives a very good idea of where we are, and where we need to be, in terms of our lifestyle. A combination of all aspects will need to change/decrease as we get closer to net zero.

As well as changing behaviour, changes in the technology we use in everyday life can help. For example, using hydrogen instead of gas central heating.

Another key area in order to meet the 2050 targets is to reduce energy demand from the buildings we live and work in. The 27 million dwellings and 2 million non-domestic buildings in the UK are responsible for 43% of the total of the UK’s energy use and 29% of the UK’s Co2 emissions (Committee on climate change, 2018).

Government intervention

The government has a large number of policy options to choose between to support behaviour change and encourage a low-carbon lifestyle. As well as pushing behaviour change, taxation can play a part in showing people what is socially acceptable or not. Another way government can encourage behaviour change is to incentivise regional or local government to take appropriate actions.

“It will very rarely come down to a direct message like ‘sorry, you can’t buy that but you can buy this’. But there will be stronger messages within the (tax) system that make one thing more attractive than the other,” Sir Ian pointed out.

Urgent action

Until recently, Sir Ian worked for Defra, who, when contacted by the BBC, made the following statement:

“The impact of climate change is clear and demands urgent action from countries around the world. The UK has already shown global leadership by becoming the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050 – but we know there is more to do.

“That’s why we’re reforming farming policy to reward environmental actions, reviewing our food system to ensure it is more sustainable, taking steps to accelerate tree-planting and peatland restoration, and introducing a flagship Environment Bill to address the biggest environmental priorities of our age.”

Boris Johnson: Iran to blame for oil price surge

energy price

Energy Management’s Hannah Robinson takes a look at the latest geopolitical incident to cause an oil price surge.

Background – what happened

On the 14th September 2019, Saudi Arabia was hit by missile attacks on two oil facilities. The attacks were carried out by 18 drones and seven cruise missiles travelling 500km undetected, which proceeded to hit the oil field and processing facility.

The attack caused large fires at the refineries, which according to the Saudi Arabian interior ministry were put out several hours later. The attacks wiped out 5 per cent of the world’s oil supply.

Billions of dollars had been spent on protecting Saudi Arabia against such attacks, including buying in defence systems from the United States, but to no avail on this occasion.

Boris Johnson’s opinion

Prime Minister Johnson agreed with Saudi Arabia in stating that he thought there was a ‘high degree of probability’ that Iran was behind the attacks on the two oil facilities. Johnson also refused to rule out military intervention and stated sanctions may also be a possibility.

“I can tell you that the UK is attributing responsibility with a very high degree of probability to Iran for the Aramco attacks,” he commented. Mr Johnson said he will work with the US and European countries to give a response in an attempt to minimise building tensions.

Mr Johnson is due to meet with presidents from France, Germany and the US to discuss the attacks as well as Brexit, with himself and Trump agreeing there is a need for a united, diplomatic response in regard to Saudi Arabia.

Effect on oil prices

The oil price surge is almost 20 per cent due to the 5.7 million barrels of oil being taken from the supply chain. This is the largest spike since 1988. The price is still below that of last October ($85 dollars a barrel), but by the end of the day of the attack, prices had increased by 14.7%.

Saudi Arabia believes they can get oil production up and running again in a matter of weeks, however, if this doesn’t happen, we could be looking prices hitting the levels of 12 months ago – or higher.

Oil market analysts claim prices could surge towards $100 a barrel in the next few weeks if tensions in the Middle East continue due to renewed disruption in the Strait of Hormuz, a key transit route for the world’s oil tankers.

Source: BBC News – 2019

Smart Export Guarantee – What is it?

Following the closure of the Feed in Tariff (FiT) to new applicants in March 2019, the need for payment for electricity exported to the grid by small-scale renewables was recognised. Thus, BEIS introduced the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG).

The Smart Export Guarantee is a mechanism designed to ensure people/businesses who generate renewable energy and export to the grid are paid fairly. It applies to any of the following renewable energy technologies;

  • Solar PV panels, onshore wind, anaerobic digestion, hydro – up to 5MW
  • Micro Combined heat and power – with an electrical capacity of up to 50kW

The Smart Export Guarantee will come into force from 1st January 2020. Anybody who already receives FiT on installations will be unaffected by SEG.

How much will you receive?

Nothing is set in stone, however, we predict that initial SEG tariffs to be straightforward, most likely offering a fixed pence per kWh export rate.

The only requirement for SEGs is that the tariff must always be greater than zero, effectively meaning it is up to energy suppliers to decide what to offer their customers. Tariffs will differ between suppliers and some may choose to offer multiple choices.

How can we help?

Energy Management has expert industry knowledge which allows us to guide you through the whole renewable energy installation process. We arrange and manage the installation of the infrastructure right the way through to the procurement of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and SEGs.

For more information give a member of the team a call on 01225 867722, or alternatively email

Droughts likely in the North of England in 15 years


Effective water management has never been more important as global warming takes hold.

In 15 years’ time, it is probable that demand for water in the North of England will surpass supply, potentially resulting in water shortages across the region which would leave households and businesses in turmoil.

Currently, the North has an abundance of water but with a changing climate and rise in global temperatures forecast to cause a reduction in rainfall on top of popualtion growth, we could be getting to the tipping point sooner rather than later.

Soon, as is the case in the South East and London, in particular, areas of the North might have to transport water from other areas of the country where there is still a surplus.

The transport of water though brings about lots of issues with water leaks and can result in large volumes of water loss unless leaks are fixed proficiently by water companies.

A recent report by IPPR North warns that efforts to stop leaks might not be enough and water use must be reduced to avoid likely droughts in the near future. The average water usage in the UK is significantly higher than in other countries in Europe despite an approximate 40% decrease in leakages since the 1990s.

As the North relies more on surface water than other parts of the country, it could be greater affected by the drier climate.

The Environment Agency is apprehensive about the future and proposes that unless public attitudes change, and drastic action is taken to stop leaks then a water shortage is very likely.

If the imminent drought materialises, costly reservoirs might have to be built in order to increase the supply of water to the North of England and this may translate to a higher price of water to the consumer.

If your water contract is up for renewal or you just need advice on how to manage your water supply more effectively, you can contact a member of our team now on: 01225-867722 or alternatively email