Current UK emissions targets are not tough enough to avoid ‘extremely dangerous’ climate change, says a new report by the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)
The third edition of the seminal report on rethinking development in the wake of climate change, looks forward to 2030, and a scenario in which the UK has ‘risen to the challenges of the 21st century’.
Presented to the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group in Westminster today (16 July), the ‘roadmap’ highlights the need for further research on adaptation, economic transition and policy to provide significant CO2 emissions reductions.
The last edition of the report was released in 2010, since then the economic situation has worsened and negotiations on climate change have stalled. The new report draws on the work Zero Carbon Britain have been doing at the CAT during the last six years.
The report calls for strategic thinking to ‘avoid panicked choices that will lock the UK into a problematic energy path for the future’.
By making changes to our buildings, transport systems and behaviour, and by investing in a variety of renewable energy generation technologies suited to the UK (without a nuclear component), we can provide a reliable zero carbon energy supply without negatively impacting on quality of life.
The UK is now at a critical crossroads, as a significant amount of our current generation capacity is due for retirement within the next ten years. Strategic thinking is vital now to avoid panicked choices that will lock the UK into a problematic energy path for the future. Any investment in new generation plant infrastructure must take full
account of the longevity of the fuel supply, the cost of extracting fuel and producing energy, as well as the potential fuel price rises that may occur during its design life.
On greenhouse gas emissions
Current UK greenhouse gas emissions targets, though ambitious in comparison to our international contemporaries, do not offer substantial enough reductions to provide a good chance of avoiding what is now considered extremely dangerous climate change. Neither do they adhere to what might be termed the UK’s ‘fair share’ of the global carbon budget. The most recent climate science now demands a much greater sense of urgency than the current mainstream view.
On climate change
Closing the gap between current ‘politics as usual’ and what is physically necessary to address climate change will require cross-sector collaboration and public engagement, framed by robust international agreements to foster high-level all-party political commitment.