It appears that policies toward zero carbon emissions are taking effect in the UK as research reveals that the UK has become more eco friendly. In 2004 Britain’s per capita carbon dioxide emissions were more than double the worldwide average and were still rising.
The UK is in the top three countries in the world in working towards zero carbon emissions in the built environment, however, there are still a number of areas to be improved on.
The RICS Global Zero Carbon Capacity Index (or ZC2 Index)* has for the past three years assessed 34 individual countries on a number of factors, looking at how they are progressing towards a zero carbon built environment. Due to its carbon reduction policies, the UK ranked third in the index, just behind Norway and Brazil. Norway was top for the third year running, while Brazil moved up six places due to low energy use and high contribution of renewable energy.
The ZC2 Index assesses advances towards a decarbonised environment by using three indicators; consumption of energy in the residential, tertiary and transport sectors; the contribution of renewable energy to total primary energy supply (TPES); and the policy frameworks countries have put in place to promote carbon reductions in the built environment.
Greenhouse gases can be emitted through transport, land clearance, and the production and consumption of food, fuels, manufactured goods, materials, wood, roads, buildings, and services
Highlighting the inroads made towards zero carbon emissions in the residential sector, the UK’s ranking in this indicator improved from 2008, although it still remains firmly mid table. The worst performers in residential energy consumption were Luxembourg, Canada, Finland, US, and Germany. Germany was 12th in last year’s index but an almost 20 per cent increase in residential energy use has resulted in a poor performance for this sector this year leaving it the fifth worst performer.
Other findings of the index reveal overall renewable energy contributions remain similar to last year and there is no change in the five best performing countries. The UK remains one of the worst performers, although it gained one place, while Korea continues to rank lowest in the sector. The stability in these figures reflects the lead time in investment on renewable energy infrastructure and the effort required to significantly shift the basis of energy generation in a country.
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