There’s been a lot of discussion about the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) strong recommendation today that the UK can and should end its contribution to global warming within 30 years by setting an ambitious new target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. The CCC notes that the global average temperature has already risen by 1°C from pre-industrial levels, driving changes in our climate that are increasingly apparent. In the last ten years, pledges to reduce emissions by the countries of the world have reduced the forecast of global warming from above 4°C by the end of the century to around 3°C. Net-zero in the UK would lead the global effort to further limit the rise to 1.5°C.
It goes on to explain that:
- The policies required to deliver a net-zero economy are already active or in development and include a supply of low-carbon electricity (which will need to quadruple by 2050), efficient buildings and low-carbon heating (required throughout the UK’s building stock), electric vehicles (which should be the only option from 2035 or earlier), and a number of other measures. However, these policies must be urgently strengthened and to deliver tangible emissions reductions.
- Policies will have to ramp up significantly for a ‘net-zero’ emissions target to be credible.
- The overall costs of the transition to a net-zero economy are manageable but they must be fairly distributed.
This cannot be done by consumers or by Government alone. It requires partnership working and a whole systems approach to reducing emissions, such as that being tested by BankEnergi. Low carbon electricity will can only be cost-effective if it is balanced with more responsive energy demand, and if generators are given a chance to trade surpluses with others at a local level, including users who can ramp up demand through battery storage of time-shifting electric vehicle (EV) charging.
The BankEnergi project team support the CCC’s ambitions for a zero emissions economy by 2050 and are dedicated to demonstrating ways in which is can happen at a local level now.
The full report can be downloaded from the CCC’s website.