Royal Institution Comment

Royal Institution comments on call from the Committee on Climate Change for the UK to lead the global fight against climate change

  • Royal Institution building
    Credit: Tim Mitchell

Director of the Royal Institution comments on the Committee on Climate Change report published today

Commenting on the call from the Committee on Climate Change, for the UK to lead the global fight against climate change, Dr Shaun Fitzgerald, Director of the Royal Institution, said: “I am of course a massive supporter of efforts to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. It has been core to my whole career - from green energy supply in the form of geothermal power through to reduction in energy demand in the form of energy efficient buildings. There is much we can do, but are all the recommendations realistic? The issue is that there are so many recommendations because there is no silver bullet – it needs a lot of work in a lot of areas.

“I think that the committee might need to look a bit further at societal acceptance of some of the recommendations and how this might be achieved – for example, will people be prepared to set their winter time thermostat to 19C? We know the impact of reducing it from say 21C to 19C is significant, but asking people to put up with a reduction in comfort/quality is going to be difficult. Contrast that with switching to low energy lighting – that will likely be a lot easier because we are not asking people to reduce the quality of their internal environment.

“There is also the challenge of our existing building stock – the prize for improving the efficiency of these buildings is again significant. However, there is a practical challenge in terms of the number of sufficient skilled workers to undertake the work, and then of course the barrier of getting homeowners to get the work done. The financial incentives from things like the Green Deal show how difficult it is to devise schemes which actually work and which get taken up on a scale which then makes a difference.

“There are things we can do, and many of the recommendations in the report seem very sensible – but engagement of citizens in different circumstances will be crucial in order to determine which recommendations might need more work.”


For more information contact Robert Davies (020 7670 2991 / in the Ri press office.


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