By cutting Britain’s energy consumption in half and producing the rest of its energy from renewable sources, the center for alternative technology has come up with a plan it says will make Britain carbon neutral by 2027. They have written a 114 page report detailing their plan that can be downloaded here.
The best part of the report is that, in addition to drawing on the experience of people in numerous, wide-ranging fields such as geography, sociology, psychology, economics and sustainable architecture, it relies entirely on existing and proven technologies to achieve its results. The added benefit is that as new technologies are developed, Britain could potentially become a net-producer of energy.
The report is attracting the attention of some noteworthy people, including Sir John Houghton, former co-chair of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, who said of zerocarbonbritain’s plan:”zerocarbonbritain comprehensively takes on board all these components and demonstrates how they can be integrated together. It also recognises the inevitable implication of a target close to zero-carbon and develops, in detail, a possible energy strategy for Britain. . .”
The plan is complex and very detailed, but can be distilled into the following six components:
1. As Gordon Brown has explained2, the economy and environment must be addressed together and environmental
considerations need to be paramount in establishing economic policy.
2. Technology and the market must be recognised as vital tools – but not as masters.
3. The long-term must be taken on board, as well as the short-term.
4. Adequate investment in research and development must be provided urgently, to bring promising potential technologies
(e.g. wave, tidal stream and biofuel technologies) to the ‘starting gate’.
5. Energy provision needs to be influenced by social values and ‘quality of life’, for instance, the community benefits of local
energy provision should be recognised.
6. Energy security must also be addressed in the strategy debate.
Looking at everything from buildings to transportation to agriculture, the report shows how to reduce energy consumption practically and, as previously mentioned, using existing technology, and then looks into how to generate the rest of Britain’s energy from renewable sources.
Sources and links:
1) I originally heard of the plan through treehugger.com. The original article can be seen here.
2) Learn more about Zero Carbon Britain here.