90% of energy professionals think UK is not on track to hit net zero emissions by 2050, reveals survey

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9th July 2020 09:34 - Utilities

90% of energy professionals think UK is not on track to hit net zero emissions by 2050: An Energy Institute (EI) survey has found that nine out of ten energy professionals believe that the UK is not on target to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

The annual Energy Barometer research questioned 350 professional and pre-professional members of the EI in the UK just before and at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, finding that 70% do not think that the government is doing enough to ensure its climate change ambitions are met. Over half the survey participants also felt that urgent action was required to ensure that the UK meets the targets set for 2030.

Asked about the greatest obstacles to meeting net zero, the top response was a 'lack of clear energy policy' (44%), followed by 'insufficient behaviour change' (38%) and 'inadequate steps by businesses' (10%).

Respondents were asked what they feel are the greatest missed opportunities of the past decade, with the top answer given being 'improving energy efficiency'. This was followed by 'renewables', 'nuclear power' and 'carbon capture usage and storage' (CCUS).

When asked about the biggest challenges facing the energy industry, the top answer was 'low carbon energy', followed by 'energy policy', and 'sustainability and climate change'

One of the biggest challenges for the energy industry, according to participants is 'public engagement and acceptance', with consumer and citizen pressure revealed to be the biggest driver of decarbonisation. 

Nine out of 10 people (91%) said they would be 'very' or 'fairly' willing to 'shop for fewer new products' to help support carbon neutrality, followed by 'changing the method of heating their home' (85%), 'adopting smart technology in the home' (84%), and changing their primary mode of transport (79%). Other areas where respondents said they would be willing to change their personal behavior included 'diet' (74%) and 'amount of air travel' taken (65%).

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