Saturday, 17 July 2010

Zero Carbon by 2030, ConDem Action Required

A report out the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) shows how the country could be zero carbon by 2030. The "visionary" report, Zero Carbon Britain 2030, would see all cars be electric or use biofuels, increased use of public transport and very occasional long-haul flights.

A mass insulation programme of homes and businesses would have to be undertaken to improve energy efficiency on a major scale in tandem with a significant expansion of renewable electricity and heat generation.

Offshore wind and wave energy would replace fossil fuels, with no reliance on new nuclear capacity.

The CAT report also outlines a transformation of the UK's land use, farming and diet. Land currently used for grazing cattle would be turned over to produce vegetables and grain for food and trees for biofuels and construction. The population, meanwhile, would have to reduce meat consumption.

Taking such measures could cut emissions by around 90%, with the remaining 10% offset by a major tree-planting 'carbon capture' effort.

The report is being backed by organisations including universities, the Met Office, as well as many other individuals including Sir John Houghton, former chair of the IPCC.

For more information, to buy the report or download it for free.

An independent assessment of the UK's infrastructure by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) reports that energy and transport networks are in poor condition.

The report grades each sector from A (fit for future) to E (not fit for purpose) on general condition, capacity, resilience and sustainability. The energy and transport sectors receive D grades, indicating an assessment of "at risk", which chair of the project steering group David Orr says is extremely concerning.

The energy sector is a particular cause for concern, says the report, facing as it does a massive challenge to ensure security of supply in future. The ICE highlights an urgent need to address the lack of spare capacity, warning that the system's maximum supply is very close to peak demand.

The Government must make decisions on renewable energy and nuclear capacity, as well as carbon capture and storage technology, within the next five years, to keep the lights on. The report also cautions that the country is too dependent on private car travel and calls for improvements to local transport networks to encourage a shift away from the car.

The ICE warns that the Coalition Government has very little time to act to secure sustainable and low-carbon energy and transport systems in the future. The report calls for a new funding mechanism, beyond the scope of the Green Investment Bank, to attract the necessarily high levels of private investment.

A replacement to the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) - an "efficient and democratically accountable" system - is also needed, supported by a clear strategic roadmap and led by a chief construction officer.

For further information go here

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