Businesses remain defiantly green after US backs out of Paris Agreement
As reported last week on Energy Digital, President Donald Trump has decided to pull the USA out of The Paris Agreement, a worldwide accord that nearly all other countries are involved with to battle climate change with renewable energy and sustainability. This announcement has left many world leaders reeling, but businesses are quick to highlight the fact that regardless of this situation, they are continuing to work hard in their quest to be greener and more sustainable.
The business world is showing more and more that is cares for the environment, and more money is being sunk into renewable energy than ever. As previously reported in one of our sister sites, Business Review USA & Canada, some of the largest organisations in America have signed up to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, and the numbers are growing all the time. Never has this been a hotter topic.
Tanuja Randery, Zone President UK & Ireland at Schneider Electric has offered the following expert comment which expresses hers and the company’s view on the global energy problem, and what companies are still doing to help – regardless of Trump’s decisions.
“The global problem validated by nearly every country in the world in Paris was clear. Our world faces an energy dilemma – we must halve our energy emissions by 2050, despite the fact that demand for energy is expected to double in that time.
“We are in the midst of a very real transition in which our electricity models will be anchored in more decentralised generation and decarbonised fuel sources and the current way of generating, distributing, consuming and managing energy is not sustainable. The decision by the U.S. administration to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement is a step backward from the vision and commitment that world leaders made in 2015.
“But the path has been set and momentum is now on the side of sustainability. Businesses investing in sustainability and carbon-reducing initiatives find it helps their bottom line and customer loyalty, whilst also reducing emissions. Schneider Electric reaffirms its own commitments made in conjunction with the Paris Climate Change Conference, and to helping its customers around the world to make the most of their energy. In today’s world, business and society demand that we advance sustainability initiatives, and work together to solve the energy dilemma.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.