Climate change mitigation policies are essential to avoid dangerous climate change


 Solar PV panels on social housing for older people © Climate UK 


  1. Climate change mitigation policies are essential to avoid dangerous climate change. The UK needs climate change mitigation policies, but they should avoid penalising people on low incomes who are least responsible for carbon emissions from energy use.
  2. Although the main carbon mitigation and fuel poverty policies for the energy sector are set at national level, there are many local opportunities to reduce the triple injustice by supporting community approaches to reducing energy vulnerability and fuel poverty. Local government and partner agencies, including registered social landlords, have local knowledge on the needs of local people, the location of more deprived communities and the condition of their housing stock, enabling some consideration of equity issues in the delivery of local interventions, notwithstanding the constraints of national policy.
  3. The links between carbon reduction, home energy efficiency, public health and poverty reduction mean that there are opportunities for triple wins in delivery at local level. Home energy efficiency measures can reduce carbon emissions, improve people’s health (conditions such as arthritis and asthma are worsened in cold, damp homes) and reduce fuel bills. There are opportunities to tackle multiple agendas simultaneously by delivering coordinated local solutions. Local authorities and their partners have the opportunity to better join up services to address local needs, for example, to address public health by working with health services to refer people with respiratory diseases to household energy efficiency schemes. Housing providers can also consider how asset management strategies can be used to drive up standards for fuel poor or energy vulnerable households.
  4. There are national policies which can support a local drive for action to promote energy justice relating to both community energy and fuel poverty.
  • The Community Energy Strategy, published in January 2014, describes how government will support community energy in the UK. It sets out actions under the categories of creating partnerships, building capability and capacity, measuring impact, and supporting communities to produce, reduce, manage and purchase energy.
  • The Government’s new fuel poverty strategy, Cutting the cost of keeping warm has a target to ensure that as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practicable achieve a minimum energy efficiency standard of band C, by 20301. (The target applies to England only, as fuel poverty is a devolved responsibility and the devolved nations are responsible for setting their own targets). The target is part of a new fuel poverty strategy and is accompanied by a suggested road map of actions to 2030. For more information on how local action can promote energy justice, see sections 4 and 5 of this message and sections 4 and 5 of the fuel poverty section.
  1. Local authorities and their partners can work together to create fairer conditions for people in their locality through supporting local community energy initiatives. Community energy projects cover a wide range of initiatives, most commonly energy efficiency (including both behaviour change and installation of measures) and energy generation. The Community Energy Strategy says “Community-led action can produce energy, reduce energy use, manage energy demand and purchase energy. It can often tackle challenges more effectively than government alone, developing solutions to meet local needs, and involving local people2. Community energy initiatives can be local-authority led, or (more commonly) community or voluntary sector-led. In the case of community or voluntary sector-led projects, support from local authorities and other local organisations can help groups to achieve more.