Renew On Line (UK) 64
|Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 164 Nov-Dec 2006
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
6. Tyndall say 90% CO2 cut needed
In a new report ‘Living Within a Carbon Budget’, commissioned by Friends of the Earth and the Co-operative Bank, the Tyndall Centre, Manchester says that ‘the government’s carbon reduction policies continue to be informed by a partial inventory which omits the two important and rapidly growing sectors of air transport and shipping... There is a clear void between the scale of the problem and the actual policy mechanisms proposed.’
They note that UK carbon emissions have in fact not fallen at all since
1990. And while the government talks of a 60% cut in emissions being
need by 2050, the Tyndall Centre says that a 90% cut is needed by then.
However they say that this can be achieved if we get going quickly:
‘The real challenge is making a radical shift within four years
and driving down carbon intensity at an unprecedented 9% a year for
up to 20 years’.
Key findings of ‘Living Within a Carbon Budget’:
• As long as action is taken now, it will be possible to live within this carbon budget and have a healthy, growing economy and enjoy lifestyles not radically different from today. The longer we leave it, the more radical the changes will need to be.
One way to stimulate the change over, they say, could be by personal
carbon rationing, but like the ideas for speed limits, this could be
unpopular: but if nothing else, perhaps talk of a 60 mph motorway speed
limit and even speed limits for planes, may act as a wake up call about
the importance of climate change.
The research suggests that in 2030 total energy use could be reduced by 20% and fossil fuel use by over a third. Using cleaner fuels and capturing carbon dioxide from power plants and storing it could result in carbon dioxide emissions being reduced by 70%. By 2030 renewable power and bio-fuels could provide a quarter of all energy needs, and 36% of electricity, with on-site micropower supplying 15% of electricity. Looking further ahead, by 2050 energy use could be reduced by half and fossil fuel use by 70%. Emissions of carbon dioxide could be reduced by 90%. Bio-fuels and renewable energy could provide 40% of all energy, with building-integrated micro-renewables supplying around a third of electricity.
Energy efficiency is a priority. The research suggests that ‘consumption of electricity for appliances could be kept constant (e.g. through regulations on minimum efficiency) and that very large savings could be made by reducing energy demand for space and water heating. Action in this area could reduce energy demand in houses by a third by 2030 and around 60% by 2050. Office buildings and shops could also make significant cuts through greater thermal efficiency.’
In the transport sector, the report notes that ‘trains are the
cleanest form of mass transport, producing on average only a quarter
of the carbon dioxide that cars emit for the same distance and just
over 10% compared to domestic aviation. Investments in train infrastructure,
such as longer platforms for longer trains, could make an important
contribution to meeting emissions targets as could investing in infrastructure
for double-decker trains. Requiring manufacturers to produce more efficient
cars, and improving the efficiency of buses, are critically important,
as is regulatory and fiscal action to force innovation in aviation’.
Overall the research suggests that transport emissions could be cut
by over half by 2030 without reducing mobility.
In addition ‘technology has the potential to make very large cuts in emissions from road vehicles. The fuel efficiency of the UK car fleet has actually decreased recently despite manufacturers’ voluntary agreement with the EU to improve efficiency.’ Instead they suggest that ‘the amount of carbon dioxide released per car kilometre could be cut by two-thirds by 2030’.
Although they note that there are fewer technological options for cutting carbon dioxide from aviation than in other sectors, they do not propose grounding the airfleet. However they say current rates of growth are unsustainable (aviation emissions grew by 11% between 2003 and 2004), and that Government intervention- such as increased taxes and a cap on airport expansion- is required to curb that growth: some journeys such a domestic flights will need to be switched to cleaner forms of transport. They suggest that ‘Any future growth in passenger air miles will have to be met through even greater energy efficiency gains. For example, the airline industry may need to improve efficiency by, say, 10% before an increase in passenger miles of 1% is allowed so that overall emissions are still substantially reduced. Increased mobility without much greater efficiency gains (in both aviation and private car use) would require other sectors such as industry to make deeper cuts in emissions. Economically this could be impractical; politically it would be contentious.’
FoE has produced a summary ‘The Future Starts here’. The full Tyndall report is at: www.foe.co.uk/resource/reports/living_carbon_budget.pdf
|We are now offering to e-mail subscribers a PDF version of the complete Renew, instead of sending them the printed version, should they wish.|