UK net zero targets threatened by inequality, says L&G

Solar panels on houses reflect the sun in Stoke on Trent, Britain February 10, 2017 REUTERS / Darren Staples / File Photo

October 20 (Reuters) – Britain’s plan to achieve net zero emissions risks being undermined by income inequality, with only high-income households able to afford new green technologies unless the costs are shared, a financial services provider Legal & General said Wednesday.

His research, published less than two weeks before the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, found that an average UK household had a funding gap of more than 4,000 pounds ($ 5,500) for the installation of solar panels. The funding gap for the installation of a geothermal heat source was almost 15,000.

Households earning less than £ 20,000 a year have been particularly slow to adopt green technologies, according to the report.

“Right now the UK runs the risk of creating two visions of Britain: one where better-off communities benefit from 21st century green and clean technologies, and another where less well-off communities don’t. The climate transition cannot be limited to the better off. “said Nigel Wilson, CEO of Legal & General.

“If the UK is to successfully achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, this transition must be made in a socially inclusive manner. “

The study showed that consumers were willing to make green modifications to their homes, with 52% very or somewhat willing to install solar panels and 54% happy to install a ground source heat pump.

But households were willing or able to contribute just 13% of the costs associated with installing solar panels and 10% of the costs of installing a ground source heat pump, he found.

To close this funding gap, the costs had to be shared between households, local authorities and central government, Wilson said.

“We cannot build healthy and prosperous communities without building and modernizing infrastructure that reduces emissions, improves air quality and access to green jobs,” he added.

($ 1 = 0.7271 pounds)

Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru, edited by Sujata Rao in London and Philippa Fletcher

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