Building Regulations AD L1 and L2
The requirements of the regulations have been drafted and are due for tightening, mindful of the Governments commitments to energy conservation and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions under the Kyoto Protocol.
The Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change is an international framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in an attempt to mitigate global climate change. In December of 1997, representatives from 142 nations met in Kyoto, Japan to negotiate and sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), now known as the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol, in its latest form, requires developed nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to about 5% below 1990 levels by the years 2008-2012. The Kyoto Protocol and its continuing negotiations are far from perfect. However, as it is the only current international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and has been ten years in the making, many believe getting the Protocol into action is a crucial step in combating global warming.
The Kyoto Protocol suffered a temporary setback in March, 2001, when US President George Bush denounced the Protocol, thereby rejecting ten years of hard work and negotiations. The US was the only country to reject the Protocol in advance of the July meetings in Bonn. It did so for a number of reasons. The current administration believes that:
the protocol is 'fatally flawed' (Associated Press, 23 Jul 2001)
adherence would cause economic crises
the 130 developing nations should not be exempt from the current emissions reduction requirements.
Fortunately, the US administration's untimely and clumsy rejection of the Kyoto Protocol has renewed efforts by other nations and environmentalists to get the Protocol ratified. And on July 23, 2001, 178 nations meeting in Bonn, Germany, with the notable exception of the US, agreed on the rules of the Kyoto Protocol. This action "was a triumph for European diplomacy and an impressive testament to the statesmanship of the other nations of the world, which, against all predictions, decided that it was time to act on the most critical environmental problem of the 21st century." ( Leonie Haimson, Grist Magazine)
As New Zealand delegate Peter Hodgson said, "We have delivered probably the most comprehensive and difficult agreement in human history' (Reuters, 23 Jul 2001)." For the Protocol to come into force, the Protocol needs to be ratified by 55 countries, including the nations responsible for at least 55% of the developed world's emissions. We are in the midst of a major push led by the European Union to ratify the agreement: with or without the US. And it appears that they might be successful. As of April 11th, 2002, 53 of the needed 55 countries have ratified it. However, these countries so far only account for 2.4% of the developed world's emissions. This means we need ratification by a number of large (in emissions)countries, i.e. Canada, Japan, Russia, and European Union members to ratify for the protocol to come into force.
But what kind of message will we send to the rest of the world if we refuse to be part of this incredibly important piece of international environmental policy? What will this do to our ability to be a global leader in the 21st century? We cannot let the US administration prevent us from taking responsibility for our actions - we must propel the US to act NOW!!
From the Governments Impact Assessment before the introduction of the new regulations.
The Kyoto Protocol and the UK Climate Change Programme
13 The Government has agreed to achieve a target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of a basket of 6 greenhouse gases. As a result of a subsequent agreement within the European Union, the UK has taken on a legally binding target to reduce its emissions to 12.5% below 1990 levels over the period 2008 to 2012. The Government also has a separate domestic goal of reducing its carbon dioxide emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2010.
14 The Government published its climate change programme in November 2000 . This document explains why the Government is tackling climate change, outlines the action being taken internationally and in the UK, and describes the proposed strategy to deliver on the Kyoto and national commitments. This strategy includes seeking higher building energy performance standards through this amendment to the Building Regulations.
15 The operation of building engineering services such as space heating, domestic hot water, mechanical ventilation, air conditioning, lighting etc consume energy which in turn causes carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions amounting to 46% of the national total (27% from housing and 19% from non-domestic buildings). This amounts to about 235 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year - or about 63.5 million tonnes of carbon per year (MtC/year) in the internationally preferred units used in the rest of this section of the RIA. However, improving building fabric insulation and the performance of building engineering services can make little contribution to emissions of the other 5 gases in the Kyoto basket which are mainly produced by manufacturing and industrial combustion processes.