Actions taken this decade will be crucial in mitigating the worst impacts of climate breakdown. Yet, according to our Climate Gap research, we are not cutting emissions fast enough across any of our key lifestyle areas - including in heating our homes.
Heating and the climate gap
Emissions from residential heating did fall in 2022 and seem to be on target. But mild winter temperatures were found to have accounted for almost two thirds of the drop in emissions, with the rest likely due to high gas prices.
So our second key finding in the report is that some of the apparent progress is caused by external circumstances rather than policy success.
Heat pumps are still too expensive for many, and our homes are among the worst insulated in Europe. Government-funded installations for fuel-poor homes were over 1.5 and 2 million in 2010-2012, but suddenly dropped to the hundreds of thousands, and have still not been revived over 10 years later.
Our fourth key finding was that insulation and heat pumps continue to be the furthest off target of all our measures (see graph below). There is at least a new “Great British Insulation Scheme” in 2023, which eligible households can access through their energy supplier. Let’s hope that this has some impact.