A new report says Britain could cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2030, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs and regaining energy security at the heart of a radically revamped economy.
The message presents a substantial alternative to the austerity-based package being offered by Chancellor George Osbourne in his 'emergency budget', which critics say will hit the vulnerable while failing to address fundamental economic challenges or the need for a 'green new deal'.
The Zerocarbonbritain2030 report, published by the Centre for Alternative Technology on Wednesday 16 June 2010, includes input from thirteen universities, twelve research bodies (including NEF, the New Economics Foundation), and eight key industry players. It highlights a path for a zero carbon transition by 2030.
For the first time, a comprehensive energy strategy has been produced that could reduce emissions to zero for all greenhouse gases and across all sectors, says the NEF, welcoming the report.
“Zerocarbonbritain2030 shows how with the right mix of wind power, hydro, solar, biomass - plus an intelligent grid to manage demand - we can ‘keep the lights on’ and supply the energy the country needs – with major win-wins across the economy,” explains Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology.
The report aims to integrate thinking across a range of sectors and to identify potential for 'Powering Down' through reducing demand and 'Powering Up' renewables to 100 per cent by 2030, with no requirement for nuclear energy.
“We have the lifetime of this parliament to break Britain's fossil fuel addiction. The BP fiasco underlines how important it is that we act now," comments Andrew Simms, policy director of the New Economics Foundation.
He continues: "If we do this, we can enjoy greater energy security and a more sustainable, dynamic and resilient economy. If we don't we will lurch from one energy and environmental crisis to another on a downward spiral. Zerocarbonbritain2030 shows us how to begin the Great Transition and reveals its huge potential."
Key priorities identified in the groundbreaking CAT report include:
Transport: A 63 per cent reduction in energy use for transport could be achieved by:
* A switch from petrol / diesel powered vehicles to electric / battery powered vehicles.
* Rail and bus services replacing domestic and short haul flights.
* Two- thirds reduction in long haul aviation using kerosene fuel produced from coppice in the UK.
Buildings: A 50 per cent reduction in heat and electricity demand could be achieved by:
* Insulation of all of Britain's un-insulated cavity walls and lofts.
* Using natural construction materials such as wood, straw and other natural materials will lock away CO2.
Land Use ideas:
* Britain can grow most of its own food whilst still producing biomass for heating, electricity and transport fuel.
* Land can be used to mop up residual emissions through sequestration.
* A 80 per cent reduction in livestock products that generate 82 per cent of green house gases in the agricultural sector. Non-livestock products generate more food and have a higher nutritional value.
Policy: The report also recognises that action in the UK alone is not enough, making the transition will require unprecedented collaboration on a global scale. It:
* Emphasises the urgent need for an international agreement
* Explores different policy options for emissions reduction including cap and trade, carbon tax and tradeable energy quotas
"CAT’s report shows that a zero carbon Britain is both desirable and achievable. The first stop on the journey should be a 10 per cent reduction. We have tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already working towards this target. This should serve as an inspiration to us all," declared Eugenie Harvey, the Director of 10:10UK in response.
Download or buy the report here: http://www.zcb2030.org/