The UK’s CO2 emissions have now been falling for six consecutive years, the longest run of reductions in records going back to 1850 (the blue area in the chart, below).
There were particularly large falls in 2014 (8.7%) and 2016 (5.9%), with 2018 seeing a more modest 1.5% reduction, according to Carbon Brief’s analysis. This means the UK’s CO2 emissions stood 39% below 1990 levels at an estimated 361MtCO2 in 2018.
This article measured the CO2 emissions from energy use in the UK. Emissions from making imported goods are not counted so when the UK manufacturing shuts down and its goods are replaced by imports, these measures fall.
This good progress will be hard to follow
On the BBC News Channel, Dr Simon Evans of Climate Brief did point out that “something like 97% of the reduction was down to using less coal to generate electricity so other parts of the economy aren’t doing so well”.
Here we analyse the drivers of decreasing CO2 emissions in a group of 18 developed economies that have decarbonized over the period 2005–2015. We show that within this group, the displacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy and decreases in energy use explain decreasing CO2 emissions. However, the decrease in energy use can be explained at least in part by a lower growth in gross domestic product.
According to the IPCC , we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%.
And please note that those numbers do not include the aspect of equity, which is absolutely necessary to make the Paris agreement work on a global scale.
Nor does it include tipping points or feedback loops like the extremely powerful methane gas released from the thawing Arctic permafrost.
“it’s not my bricks and mortar that’s gone up in value, it’s the
permission I have to have a house in my particular Street”
At agricultural prices a plot big enough for a house with a reasonably sized garden costs about £1000. A starter home, the M2, shown in this second video, can be bought from Poland for about £10,000 . There are other options this cheap.
The search is now on for policies which can provide cheap housing – lots of it – and to avoid a dramatic fall in house prices. In addition to promote lifestyles that will not ruin the climate.
Once the effects of the climate restrictions in the NPPF are accepted, there is an obvious solution: All new housing in York must be for residents without cars. (There will be a further paper which will include some possible exceptions for individuals in these developments.)
Making all new housing car-free addresses P1 to P6 above:
P1) It allows a large expansion of the housing supply at a much cheaper cost.
P2) It does not cause a precipitous reduction in existing house prices because,
in the short term, existing dwellings with have a premium value to car
P3) It allows a large reduction in the cost of housing for the less affluent
P4) It allows for the development of ways of living that are within climate constraints.
Of course, the planned green belt should be scrapped. It ossifies a very bad plan and prevents the flexible development of York at a time when it is necessary to make large changes to the way we live.
Cheap housing, negative equity and crashing the banks
A blast from the past (2004)
Planning permits (again)
A previous article, Planning permission is not a natural resource, gave a meaning to the term planning permit: A planning permit is a right to have a building or ‘other structure’ on a plot of land It is a separate entity from the physical land of the plot.
An earlier article Planning gain in the York Local Plan calculated that in York a typical plot of agricultural land worth £600 has its value increased to £182,000 when planning permission to build a house on it is given: an increase in value of over 300 times.
Here it is argued that this increase is not correctly accounted for by saying ‘the land’ has increased in value but by saying the increase in value divided between the land and another entity, a planning permit. This is the right to have a building on the plot. This division is semantic but, as will be seen in future articles, it is important.
In economics, land is a natural resource with fixed supply. Planning permits are not. I suggest that the two should be considered separately. This means the ‘plot value’ is divided into the values of land and the value of ‘planning permits’.
Planning permits are ‘the rights that planning permission creates’ but not all have been created by planning processes. Planning permits, as meant here, include historic rights that were acquired because they have existed for sufficient time. (Cf. Certificate of lawfulness.)
Here, the value of land (‘land as a natural resource’) will be assumed to be the best guess at its ‘default use’: agriculture or natural land. In the context of this article, this is not an important choice.