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Conducting climate science: Mitigation

Updated Monday 24th February 2014

What are the UK Government doing to mitigate climate change?

What are the UK Government doing to mitigate climate change?

Mitigation Actions

Setting national policy and strategy

To make sure that UK government policies contribute effectively to our greenhouse gas reduction targets, we’re:

  • - setting carbon budgets to limit the amount of greenhouse gases the UK is allowed to emit over a specified time
  • - using statistics on greenhouse gas emissions and further evidence, analysis and research to inform energy and climate change policy
  • - using the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to deliver a significant proportion of the UK’s carbon emission reductions between 2013 and 2020
  • - using a set of values for carbon to make sure project and policy appraisals account for their climate change impacts
  • - using the 2050 Calculator to let policy makers and the public explore the different options for meeting the 2050 emissions reduction targets

Reducing the demand for energy and helping people and businesses to use energy more efficiently

We can achieve significant reductions in the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions if businesses, the public sector and households reduce their demand for energy. We’re:

  • - reducing demand for energy with smart meters and other energy-efficient measures for industry, businesses and the public sector
  • - reducing emissions by improving the energy efficiency of properties through the Green Deal
  • - providing incentives for public and private sector organisations to take up more energy-efficient technologies and practices through the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
  • - reducing greenhouse gases and other emissions from transport
  • - reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

Investing in low-carbon technologies

Low-carbon technologies will make an important contribution to our greenhouse gas reduction targets. We’re:

  • - taking action to increase the use of low-carbon technologies and creating an industry for carbon capture and storage
  • - reducing emissions from the power sector and encouraging investment in low-carbon technologies by reforming the UK’s electricity market
  • - providing over £200 million of funding for innovation in low-carbon technologies from 2011 to 2015

Publicly reporting carbon emissions from businesses and the public sector

Public reporting of carbon emissions helps to encourage organisations to become more energy efficient, and allows us to assess the progress that’s being made. We’re:

  • - measuring and reporting environmental impacts: guidance for businesses
  • - asking English local authorities to measure and report their greenhouse gas emissions

Activity Seven

Now that you have a better understanding of what action the UK Government is taking to mitigate climate change, list the actions that you personally, your household and your local council are taking to tackle climate change and its impacts.


Here I share my answers to the question. The mitigation actions I undertake personally are:

  • Wear more clothes around the house so I can turn the thermostat down
  • Walk short journeys, rather than take the car
  • Take showers rather than baths

The mitigation actions my household undertake are:

  • Lag boiler pipes to reduce fuel use
  • Replace old windows with double glazed units
  • Draft proof external doors, and older windows
  • Install low-energy light bulbs
  • Insulate loft and walls
  • Efficient management of heating- including use of two thermostats, one downstairs, one upstairs, valves on radiators to adjust temperature in different rooms, timer to pre-set when heating and hot water is turned on and off
  • Dropping temperature 1-2 degrees
  • Dual flush toilet
  • Saver flush bags in older toilet cistern
  • Auto- turn offs for computers and TVs
  • Fuel efficient appliances e.g. fridge, freezer, dishwasher, washing machine.

The mitigation actions my local authority undertakes are:

Local authority
  • Grants for energy efficient savings
  • Wind turbines/solar panels for schools, local government offices and road signs
  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units
  • Power perfectors -voltage optimisation units (reduces consumption by up to 20% by adjusting voltage to only what is needed)
  • Passive Infrared lighting detectors in council buildings (automatically turn the lights off if no one is in a particular area to save energy)
  • Metering system that breaks usage down across council buildings by sector and by time
  • Introduction of some electric council vehicles
  • Increase in the availability of cycle paths
  • Supporting home working for council employees
  • Video-conferencing between departments cutting travel for meetings
  • Turning off street lights between 2-5am
  • Recycling schemes
  • ‘No waste to land fill’ policy
  • Energy recovery plants (incinerators that convert waste into energy)

This Learning Journey is part of the Creative Climate project on OpenLearn. You can return to the first page or move on to the next section: Adaptation


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