The Scottish Greens have called for urgent action to transform the way Scottish homes are heated amid the climate emergency.
With most buildings in Scotland - including the majority of new houses - relying on fossil fuels to keep warm, Scottish Green energy spokesperson Mark Ruskell has written to Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse calling for action.
Heat accounts for half of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions from energy use and a failure to act swiftly would not meet the challenge of the climate emergency. Targets on heat in the 2009 Climate Bill have not been met.
The Scottish Government is considering bringing forward a bill to regulate district heat networks, which uses waste heat to warm whole communities, but Mark Ruskell has called for bolder ambition to expand low carbon heat networks and dramatically reduce emissions from heating.
The letter calls for:
- An immediate end to public subsidies for high-carbon heating, such as oil and LPG boilers
- A ban on fossil fuel heating of new builds, including connection to the gas grid, by 2021
- High carbon heating to be phased out of existing buildings by 2025
Mark Ruskell said: “It is astonishing that new houses being built in Scotland now are still being plugged into the gas network when we are facing a climate emergency.
“While Scotland has been successful in moving to renewable electricity production, decarbonising the heating of our homes must now be the urgent priority for the Scottish Government.
“The solutions are available. Efficient electric heating with heat pumps can slash bills and emissions, whilst district heat networks are not a new idea. Copenhagen has been doing it since the 1970s, and new networks are being rolled out across the Netherlands. It’s time for the Scottish Government to catch up.
“Four out of five Scottish households currently use gas central heating. Why on earth are we building more, when keeping Scotland’s buildings warm accounts for around half of all energy consumption and climate emissions?
“It’s not enough to say it’s a climate emergency. We need governments to act, and warm, affordable and zero-carbon homes for all must be an urgent priority.”