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Scots consumers ‘in the dark’ over net zero measures

written by Bella Palmer
zero-measures

A Citizens Advice Scotland study has revealed that 65 per cent had no identifiable energy efficiency measures in their home

Scots consumers back plans for net zero emissions by 2045, but are ‘in the dark’ over the challenges it will pose in their own lives despite high profile campaigns, new research has found.

Just 65 per cent had no identifiable energy efficiency measures or renewable technologies installed in their home, a Citizens Advice Scotland study has revealed.

Research for the charity from YouGov found that 68 per cent of Scottish adults supported moves towards net zero by 2045, with 41 per cent believing that reducing the impact of climate change should become more of a priority for the Scottish Government moving beyond Covid. And 59 per cent thought making homes more energy efficient should be prioritised in the Scottish Government’s climate response.

But only 17 per cent believe that reducing water usage should be a priority, despite the fact that water heating accounts for five per cent of all UK carbon emissions - the same amount as the aviation industry.

And 90 per cent were not aware most homes and businesses would need to replace their gas heating systems with an alternative source of heating, like heat pumps, if Scotland were to reduce its reliance on ‘blue’ hydrogen to meet its climate change commitments Blue hydrogen is created from fossil fuel sources, where the carbon emissions are captured and stored. Green hydrogen is made from non-fossil sources.

People across Scotland have been urged to help tackle the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.

A major TV, radio and digital campaign called Let's do Net Zero has been launched to highlight the benefits a net-zero society would bring to the economy, health and the environment. It also aims to raise awareness of climate change and biodiversity loss.

The Scottish government has set itself a net zero target by 2045, five years ahead of the date set for the UK as a whole.

But in June it emerged it had again missed its target for reducing emissions. Figures for 2019 show they fell 51.5% against the baseline, well short of the 55% target.

CAS respondents were asked what might concern them if they were considering installing a low carbon heating system.

Cost was the biggest concern, with 67 per cent concerned about high up-front costs and 55 per cent concerned about higher energy bills.

CAS fair market spokesman Kate Morrison said: Later this year the eyes of the world will be on Scotland as Glasgow hosts COP 26, and this new briefing from Citizens Advice Scotland gives us a clear insight into how Scottish consumers view climate change.

The good news is clear support for action towards net zero, and support for energy efficiency in people’s homes being made more of a priority, she said. However, consumers are in the dark over the impact of net zero on their own lives, particularly when it comes to heating their homes. Most people did not realise use of natural gas would have to be phased out or reduced massively, and would not pick low carbon heating systems as a measure they should take to reduce their carbon footprint.

This really matters because changing to low carbon heating will be essential if Scotland is to meet our emissions targets, she said.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: We are wholly committed to becoming a net-zero economy by 2045 at the latest but meeting Scotland’s world-leading climate targets will require a truly national endeavour. This will require all aspects of Scottish society to embrace significant changes in order for us to meet our ambitious targets.

The journey to net-zero will transform every aspect of our lives: how we live, how we work, how we travel. It presents huge potential for us to seize the opportunities that becoming a net-zero society presents – growing our economy, improving our health and wellbeing whilst protecting and enhancing Scotland’s iconic natural environment, he said.

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