“It’s unequivocal, it’s indisputable. Human beings are causing changes to the climate.”
That’s the view of Professor Jim Skea, Co-Chair of Working Group III at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who spoke with future Net Zero in an exclusive interview at International Energy Week.
The IPCC is a UN body responsible for producing scientific evidence on climate change and has released various reports detailing the impacts of humanity on the climate so far, as well as possible solutions.
Professor Skea explained the impact that the body’s 1.5°C report had on political targets and governments more broadly.
“Within days [of the report’s release], the UK government had revised its Climate Change Act to turn it into a net zero target. So, it permitted politicians to move very quickly.”
Net zero was a large talking point at International Energy Week, with the UK’s Climate Czar Chris Skidmore stating it had “gone viral” in a conversation with future Net Zero earlier in the week – but what were Mr Skea’s wider thoughts on the subject?
“It’s staggering how quickly [net zero] caught fire, caught people’s imagination and I think it’s something that politicians can latch onto quite easily to give policy direction.”
In discussing solutions to net zero, which the UK has set out to achieve by 2050, he added: “We don’t know the answers because many of these technologies are at quite an early stage. But what’s absolutely certain is there is no one single answer to net zero. It’s such an ambitious target, that we will need to deploy lots of different things and lots of parts of the energy system to get us moving in the right direction. Supply side and demand side are all going to be really important.”
He concludes by detailing the progress that needs to be made: “Electric vehicles have moved faster than anybody has ever expected. The big issue is home energy consumption.
“Making sure that homes are energy efficient and making sure that we’ve got low carbon supply – and this big challenge of heat pumps that are quite controversial. But unless we move in that direction, the building sector’s not going to play its part in net zero.”