How has Covid-19 affected our progress towards being a net-zero society?
The Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated the vast scale of the climate crisis. With fewer planes flying, fewer cars on the road and offices closed, the pandemic is giving us a chance to see what life would be like with less air pollution.
Carbon Brief has estimated the drop in global CO2 emissions at 5.5% compared with last year. In China, this drop was 25%.
However, atmospheric carbon levels are expected to increase again this year, even if greenhouse gas emissions continue to decrease. Rising CO2 concentrations – and the global warming it causes – will only stabilise once annual emissions reach net-zero.
We must maintain the Covid-19 pandemic’s environmental positives as life returns to some form of normal. There is much discussion in the press at the moment about how to achieve this while economies all over the world are in serious decline.
Governments are going to be debt-laden and their cash reserves to support net-zero policies will be in short supply. The focus will be on recovering the economy.
If we are going to come out of the coronavirus pandemic ready to solve the climate crisis, we must steer this recovery towards sustainable industries – those working in home insulation, renewable energy, etc. The solutions to the climate crisis are the same as those before the pandemic swept the world, but we now have an opportunity to refocus our energies towards a common goal; kick-starting the economy and pushing towards net-zero by 2050.
Covid-19 has also illustrated the importance of laser-focused messaging. You will struggle to find a UK citizen who hasn’t heard the message: “Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.” We need a similar government message to make people take climate change more seriously and encourage the necessary behavioural changes. A sense of urgency and environmental awareness is required from the general public once the worst of the pandemic is over.
The Importance of Heating Engineers
Heating industry professionals are crucial for the decarbonisation of the UK’s housing stock. They have the key knowledge to install and maintain heating systems that run efficiently.
However, support is required for heating engineers unable to work due to Covid-19. Although many will still be doing emergency work, every business has been affected significantly. They deserve considerable support from the government since heating provides positive health benefits to the population.
The government should also announce new heating policies as early as possible so engineers can carry out decarbonisation training to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon technologies.
The Covid-19 economic fallout has caused considerable unemployment in the energy industry. It is predicted 500,000 clean energy jobs will be lost in the US, a sector that has three times as many workers as fossil fuels. As mentioned above, we must rebuild this industry as we rebuild our economies.
With oil prices going into the negatives, there is potential for a rush to renewables. Oil companies are announcing new long-term strategies to appease investor concerns about climate change and the decarbonised energy transition.
However, with profits falling, can oil companies afford to invest in renewable energy solutions? It appears investments in renewables may be postponed for the next few months while oil supermajors analyse their balance sheets.
The state of the energy industry will be greatly affected by government policies to tax non-renewables to ensure low-carbon technology becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous. The UK plans to announce these policies by the end of the year but this may be delayed due to Covid-19.
How ThermaFY Will Help
The ThermaFY app uses pioneering thermal analysis to identify inefficiencies in a heating system from your smartphone. It is used by heating engineers as a reliable tool to survey properties quickly and solve problems cost-effectively.
Replacing a home’s heating with a renewable system can often be too expensive for the homeowner. A cheaper alternative is to update parts of the existing system (e.g. adding a solar water heater) or improve the efficiency using the ThermaFY app. This provides immediate environmental and monetary savings. ThermaFY also makes sure new systems are installed correctly to work at max efficiency.
We believe the improvement of existing heating systems is the most cost-effective method of reducing the carbon footprint of domestic and commercial heating.
The ThermaFY app is currently being upgraded and will be re-released later this year.