UGP’s 2022 Predictions for a Carbon Neutral Future

2021 saw the unfortunate continuation of the covid pandemic which meant supplies were still interrupted and workforces struggled to operate as normal. However, many have also started to ‘learn to live’ with covid with a mass vaccination roll-out, so there is hope that 2022 may offer a gentle return to stability and the chance to focus on the future.

So what does 2022 have in store for a more environmentally sustainable future?

Plant Based Products Continue to Grow

Veganuary often brings about a surge in publicity for plant-based alternatives, new recipes and shifts in attitude towards food. However, 2022 is particularly significant and many fast-food franchises have made huge efforts to go plant based. Burger King has introduced the UK’s first plant-based alternative to chicken nuggets, McDonald’s has gone green with a plant-based burger and KFC have also launched a vegan version of their classic chicken burger. Energy Live News reported that by switching 10% of the world’s meat to plant-based food the ‘could be a saving of 176m tonnes of CO2 by 2030’ because Global consumption of meat reached 385 million tonnes in 2018, which translates to at least 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

The Energy Crisis

The story that dominated the latter half of 2021 and continues to remain current is the energy crisis and drastic calls for the Government to start stepping in and providing solutions for people and businesses. Many in the industry are urging the Government to start making changes. Octopus boss Greg Jackson has urged the government to ‘spread the cost of the energy crisis’, and that urgent action is required to halt “very high increases” on energy bills. Speaking on the Times Radio, Jackson said: “Unless action is taken, we will start to see those very, very high increases come through to the consumer market.” As global gas prices continue to rise leaving markets in trading turmoil, nearly one-third of Britons are afraid they will not be able to pay their bills this year. That’s according to a YouGov survey published in The Times which suggests 33% of people expected their fuel bills to become “unaffordable”.

A Drive in EV Cars

A new report from Zap-Map has unveiled less than 1% of electric vehicle (EV) drivers would go back to petrol or diesel cars. Driver satisfaction for EVs and plug-in hybrids was much higher than petrol or diesel cars, with the charged-up vehicles scoring 91/100, compared with just 74/100 for combustion vehicles. Transport Minister Trudy Harrison commented on the study: “These survey results show that drivers are becoming increasingly confident in making the switch to EVs and I hope this data encourages others to consider going electric as we work towards the UK’s ambitious net zero targets. “We’ve committed £2.5 billion to accelerate the rollout of zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure across the country, ensuring the transition is as simple as possible for motorists, as we take steps towards a greener transport future.” We are hoping this means that EV vehicles will become more available and accessible to the wider public so that more can make the switch.

A Rise in Solar Installations

Developing distributed solar capacity will be an objective for policy makers in many important markets around the world. China will continue its ongoing effort to increase dramatically the utilisation of distributed solar in its rural areas. Germany’s new coalition government has a target of installing 200 gigawatts of solar by 2030, which will rely heavily on residential solar resources. And distributed solar will remain the dominant model in Japan, Australia, Belgium, and Poland. In the coming year, policymakers and energy service providers around the world will also increasingly leverage the growing distributed solar fleet to support grid stability and provide flexibility. This means the US, for example, will continue to see distributed solar combined with storage and / or electric vehicle charging infrastructure. More Australian households will add storage to their rooftop solar systems to hedge against the rising cost of interconnection and lower solar electricity export tariffs and more countries will use distributed solar and energy storage to bring electricity services to disadvantaged communities.

Recycle or Re-use

Some of the bigger names in retail are making waves by implementing recycle schemes that reward. Boots are trialling a recycle scheme were you bring back empty bottles of products and you’re rewarded with points. Similarly H+M are allowing customers to drop off unwanted clothes or textiles from any brand and any condition in return for a store voucher. Don’t want to recycle? eBay have launched a campaign encouraging everyone to sell on any unwanted items instead of throwing them away or dumping them.

Renewable Energy Expands

Renewable energy was one of the big winners from COP26, including a 'Breakthrough Agenda' commitment to make clean power “the most affordable and reliable option” for all countries and to phase out coal. The IEA forecasts that the global renewable energy generation capacity will increase by 60% over the next 5 years. The UK is leading the way with its commitment to generate 100% of its power from renewable sources by 2035, including plans to ban coal by 2024. In its latest Contracts for Difference (CfD) round, the government has increased funding to £285 million.


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