More than 120 world leaders have gathered for the 26th Cop26 Climate Change summit in Glasgow, with Boris Johnson opening the show on Monday with his plan for a green industrial revolution.
For almost three decades, world governments have met nearly every year to forge a global response to the climate emergency.
Under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), every country on Earth is treaty-bound to “avoid dangerous climate change”, and find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally in an equitable way.
Cop stands for conference of the parties under the UNFCCC, and historical successes have included the Paris agreement in 2015 although many promises have never materialised.
Under the landmark Paris agreement, signed in 2015, nations committed to holding global temperature rises to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels, while “pursuing efforts” to limit heating to 1.5C. Those goals are legally binding and enshrined in the treaty.
However, to meet those goals, countries also agreed on non-binding national targets to cut – or in the case of developing countries, to curb the growth of – greenhouse gas emissions in the near term, by 2030 in most cases.
So far this week, around 100 world leaders have promised to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, in the COP26 climate summit’s first major deal.
Brazil – where stretches of the Amazon rainforest have been cut down – was among the signatories on Tuesday.
Felling trees contributes to climate change because it depletes forests that absorb vast amounts of the warming gas CO2.
The two-week summit in Glasgow is seen as crucial if climate change is to be brought under control.
But what help can households do to contribute to the UK’s net zero target and how much will it cost you?
But one of the biggest issues households are facing is the switch to electric cars and hydrogen boilers – which has become a huge talking point. Under it, diesel cars will be banned by 2030 and gas boilers aren’t far behind.
So how much will that cost you and how can you reduce the impact on your wallet? We take a look below.
£5,000 gas boiler grants
The Prime Minister has promised to make greener living more affordable by offering households £5,000 grants to swap their old gas boilers for heat pumps.
The funding, which will be available from April 2022, forms part of a £450million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to help install low-carbon systems in millions of homes.
But there’s one problem, it’ll be available on a first served, first come basis, and only 90,000 grants will be available – that’s just a tenth of the population that will require it.
It’s also just a fraction of the 600,000 homes Boris Johnson has promised to upgrade by 2026.
Heat pumps – can cost up to £14,000 to install – but the PM says they will cost the same to buy and run as fossil fuel boilers by 2030, when a ban kicks in.
Boris Johnson said: “Our new grants will help homeowners make the switch sooner, without
Under the scheme, no one will be forced to remove their existing fossil fuel heaters – not right now, anyway.
Instead, households will be able to apply for financial aid when they need a replacement.
The scheme will operate in England and Wales and be administered through the private firms that install the heat pumps from next Spring.
Until then, gas boiler sales will continue until 2035 despite looming climate targets. New-builds will be forced to enforce eco-alternatives a decade later than everyone else.
Estimates suggest that replacing a gas boiler with a heat pump could save homeowners in a four-bed house £1,300 a year on their heating bills, according to figures from Rated People.
However, low-carbon heat pumps could add £5,000 to the cost of a new-build, due to often involving underfloor heating and larger radiators. That compares to a £1,000 typical boiler.
Heat pumps are powered by electricity. They work by using small amounts of electricity to collect heat from cold spaces, which is then released into warm areas.
They are classified as a sustainable source of power because they use natural heat and do not emit any greenhouse gases.
Hydrogen boilers, another popular idea, are still at testing stage, but once fully developed, they will run solely on hydrogen gas or natural gas.
These boilers will use up no carbon dioxide, and can be manufactured from either water using electricity as a renewable energy source, or from natural gas accompanied by carbon capture and storage.
Get paid to trade in your petrol or diesel car
The government’s electric car grant is paid out by the Department for Transport’s Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), and is designed to make the transition to electric car (EV) ownership more affordable.
The incentives are in place to encourage people to switch because the large batteries involved in electric cars mean they are more expensive than petrol- and diesel-powered equivalents.
The electric car grant is often referred to as the Plug-in Car Grant (PICG). It is capped at £2,500 and is only available on new cars costing less than £35,000.
Grants for electric vans and motorbikes are also available. Buyers of small electric vans (under 2.5 tonnes) get a maximum grant of 35% of the list price, capped at £3,000.
For bigger vans the cap is £6,000. Motorbikes and mopeds also qualify, and the OZEV grant will pay 20% of the purchase price up to £1,500.
There are also government incentives towards the cost of home charging points. These grants are distributed by OZEV, and are currently worth up to 75% of the cost of your home wallbox installation with a cap of £350.
Grant payments are not made directly to consumers. The car dealer will usually reduce the price at the point of sale and then claim the rest from the Department for Transport.
To offer some examples, the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208 each come with grants of £2,500.
Plug-in hybrids, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Mini Countryman PHEV are not eligible.
The grant can also be used on car finance, which will reduce your monthly payments.
What about car scrappage schemes?
Car scrappage schemes can help you reduce the cost of switching to a cleaner, greener car.
In 2020, the government was set to announce a new government scrappage scheme – but this has since been ruled out.
Instead, drivers will have to reply on manufacturer schemes, such as through Ford and Kia.
Ford offers up to £2,000 off a wide selection of models.
Your old car must have been registered before January 1, 2013 and you need to have owned it for 90 days in order to be eligible for the scheme.
Currently, Vauxhall are offering up to £2,000 off the price of a new Vauxhall when drivers trade in their old car for scrappage.
You must have owned the car for more than 90 to qualify.
MG have dubbed their scheme ‘swappage’. It guarantees a £1,500 minimum part-exchange on any petrol or diesel vehicle.
You need to have owned the car for at least three months.
To be eligible for Mazda’s scheme, your petrol or diesel car must have been registered before December 31, 2011.
When you trade it in, you’ll be given up to £4,000 off the price of a Mazda that emits less than 161g/km of CO2.
Scrappage cars must have been owned for at least 60 days.
Kia is offering £2,500 of selected models. These currently include the Stonic, Picanto, Niro and Sportage.
To qualify your car must have been yours for at least three months and be older than 2012.
Kia are accepting both diesel and petrol cars on their scrappage scheme.
If you qualify for Hyundai’s scrappage scheme, you can receive a discount of between £300 and £4,000 off a new Hyundai model.
Only cars registered before July 1, 2012 are eligible. You need to have owned it for at least three months
Euro 1-3 Standards cars will be scrapped, but those with a four and five can be traded in.