A special report composed by the The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said no new gas boilers should be sold after 2025 if the world is to achieve net-zero by the middle of the century.
The move is one of 400 steps proposed by the IEA as necessary to reduce global emissions in line with the net-zero target.
Their report stresses that coal, oil and gas should be eliminated from use going forward if the target is to be achieved.
How polluting are gas boilers?
According to the IEA, heating homes with oil or gas is a major source of carbon pollution in the UK, and is responsible for around 20 per cent of total CO2 emissions in the UK and the US.
Across the world, the energy sector is responsible for around 75 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions which are driving up global temperatures.
What will replace gas boilers?
The IEA says that no fossil fuel boilers should be sold in four years’ time if the UK is to meet its net-zero target.
The exception to this, however, is where gas boilers are compatible with hydrogen.
This is because the only by-product of burning hydrogen gas to produce electricity is water, meaning it’s a carbon-free means of providing electricity.
There are several alternatives to gas boilers, including heat pumps, which use a refrigerant to absorb natural heat found in the air, ground or water.
Heat is then transferred to the cold water in a house’s system and pumped to radiators or hot taps.
Because this uses electricity, it’s not 100 per cent carbon-free, though if electricity is created using renewable sources like solar panels, it could be carbon-free.
Similarly, electric boilers can be carbon-free if the electricity used to power them is drawn from renewable sources.
Another alternative is using a solar heating system, which uses solar panels to directly heat up domestic hot water.
How realistic is the aim?
The report’s recommendations will take a massive amount of investment and international cooperation to achieve.
As well as making the UK’s own energy system greener, the IEA says that electricity must be expanded to the millions of people who don’t currently have access - an aim which would require four times the rate of solar and wind energy installment as was completed in 2020.
Some environmentalists have also expressed concern over the IEA’s proposed reliance on bioenergy to achieve its targets.
Bioenergy uses trees, crops and plants to produce electricity or liquid fuel.
What else does the report recommend?
The primary step which needs to be taken to meet net-zero, according to the report, is the abandonment of fossil fuels for generating electricity and creating products.
The IEA says electricity generation emissions need to fall to net-zero in advanced economies by 2035 and globally in the following five years.
By 2035, they propose nearly all cars sold globally should be electric, while the number of public charging stations for these cars will need to rise from one million today to 40 million by 2030.