Summary: Generation from wind, marine renewables and hydro. Ambitious demand reduction.
by Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Research and Science, Friends of the Earth
It is the amount of carbon released between now and 2050 that matters not the reduction target at 2050. The pathway we have suggested using the DECC model aims at delivering a very low carbon budget. It is interesting that there is little difference in costs between the pathways once uncertainty of costs of technologies and fuels up to 2050 is taken into account. The costs all fall well below Stern Report estimates of the costs of failing to reduce emissions (i.e. the pathways all make economic sense). Of course care is needed to make sure that the costs of the transition are largely borne by those who can afford it (i.e. progressive rather than regressive). Our pathway maximizes energy efficiency and also uses a lot of renewable energy. Our pathway also uses geo-sequestration. This is in-line with research that suggests that very significant geo-sequestration will be needed across the globe, in addition to fast greenhouse gas emissions reductions, to ensure that we are to live within safe climate change limits (www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/negatonnes.pdf). The Committee on Climate Change has recommended that by 2030 electricity should be virtually decarbonised. We choose renewable technologies to deliver on this goal although nuclear power would be another option (or a mix of the two technologies). The DECC model shows that with ambition we can produce all the electricity we need in the future with renewable power and even export large amounts. A secure supply of energy could be provided for those winter periods of windless days through energy storage (potentially hydrogen) and interconnectors. We have excluded biomass imports because of competition for land for food production. Use of land for biofuels has been identified as one of the reasons for food price rises alongside food price speculation and the impacts of extreme weather events. Instead we have made UK land available for biomass production through moving towards healthier diets and thereby lowering livestock numbers. The pathway we have posted gives a carbon budget higher than we would like (www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/reckless_gamblers.pdf). In 2011 we published research to illustrate how this carbon budget could be further reduced and how this might be possible without disproportionate impacts on low income households (www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/just_transition.pdf).
The pathway can be viewed by following this link:
The current pathway is: Pathway 10h…441
The previous pathway was: Pathway 101…141