How California is leading the US clean energy charge
Last week, lawmakers in California voted to extend the state’s (already expansive) carbon emissions targets — placing California far ahead of the other 49 states where clean energy policy is concerned.
On Wednesday, the state Senate voted 25-13 in support of of a bill which will see California’s heat-trapping CO2 emissions slashed to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Despite opposition by some industries and Republican lawmakers, it is said that Governor Jerry Brown is prepared to sign the new bill into law.
"With these bills, California's charting a clear path on climate beyond 2020 and we'll continue to work to shore up the cap-and-trade programme, reduce super pollutants and direct more investment to disadvantaged communities," Brown said in a statement.
"It's about the world in which we live becoming decarbonized and sustainable," he said. "These regulations will work to achieve that goal."
California had already aimed to cut emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020, and it is, by all accounts, on track to meet those targets. With the introduction of the new bill, California has cemented itself as the leader in US clean energy targets and policy.
Between 2006 and 2013, the state cut its annual carbon emissions by 11 percent — beating out the national average reduction rate of 10.3 percent.
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.