AS COUNTRIES line up to sign an historic climate agreement in New York Friday, 22 April, WWF Cymru has said that delivering warm, well insulated homes will be as a ‘key test’ of the next Welsh Government’s commitment to tackling climate change and delivering a sustainable country.
As of Friday (Apr 22), the Paris Agreement adopted at the COP21 climate summit in December last year will be opened for signatures at the UN Headquarters.
With March being another record-breaking month in terms of global temperatures, leaders will need to go to New York with big new commitments for action, to keep warming under 1.5 Celsius.
Energy used in our homes, including for heating and lighting, is a major contributor to Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions. The residential sector is responsible for around a quarter of emissions covered by the 3% annual reduction target for devolved policy areas.
WWF Cymru believes that a large-scale home energy efficiency programme is a key way to demonstrate a strong Welsh commitment to delivering the deal drawn up in Paris.
The global conservation organisation is calling for a major investment programme from the next Welsh Government, and wants Ministers to set a goal that all homes in Wales meet a decent standard (Energy Performance Certificate band C) by 2025.
It says scaling up measures such as fitting loft insulation and more efficient boilers would bring a range of benefits. Research suggests that as well as reducing emissions, a programme of this scale would create thousands of jobs and cut Wales’ total energy bill by tens of millions of pounds per year, as well as delivering health benefits.
Jessica McQuade, Policy and Advocacy Officer at WWF Cymru said: “As the world unites to sign an historic climate deal, it’s vital that Wales joins all countries in taking action to cut emissions and address this global threat to people and wildlife.
“Making sure everyone in Wales has a warm, well insulated home is one of the most important actions for the next Welsh Government after the elections on May 5. The scale of change needed means this will require significant investment.
“But the major benefits it will bring – for health, jobs and the environment – means there is a powerful case for making it an infrastructure priority.”
“Action on home energy efficiency goes beyond tackling climate change. This joined up approach, with multiple benefits, is central to the thinking behind the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act and on delivering its goals. Action on home energy efficiency will be a key test of whether the next Welsh Government is serious about delivering on this agenda.”