GLOBE-Net, April 15, 2012 - A new report says
the United Kingdom can achieve an 80% reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 with minimal
impact on GDP and with minimal costs.
"The 2050 target - achieving an 80% reduction including
emissions from international aviation and shipping" was published
by the UK's Committee on Climate Change
which, was created to provide advice to the government on carbon
targets and budgets and preparations for climate
An important conclusion of the report is that the required
measures would only cost 1-2% of GDP, at the low end of previously
The report's chapters cover the power sector, buildings, surface
transport, industry and non-CO2 greenhouse gases. For buildings, as
well as better insulation to reduce heat demand, more widespread
roll-out of electric heat pumps and district heating are
Supportive policy measures should include transparent and
consistent incentives for insulation and heat pumps, and
accreditation of installers. For transportation, the report
forecasts that by 2050 the total cost of owning and operating an
electric vehicle will be below the cost of a combustion vehicle, so
that low emission scenarios can be achieved at no cost to
In the interim, the low emission transportation market should be
supported with financial incentives (rebates, tax breaks), and a
modal shift in freight from road to rail or water should also be
Emission reductions from industry may cost 0.3% of UK GDP,
principally due to the high cost of low-carbon steam production.
Policy should therefore be focused on long-term regulation
(allowing industry to plan and confidently invest) and on the
provision of low-cost financing.
Finally, non-CO2 emissions (principally methane) should be
reduced through on-farm mitigation measures, a reduction in
biodegradable waste sent to landfill and capturing of fugitive
emissions from natural gas pipelines.
In related news, a leading British academic and government
advisor says the government's pledge to reduce emissions and to
stimulate green growth will create two million engineering
Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University and
non-executive director of the Department for Business,
Innovation and Skills, advises the government on education and
In a recent lecture on Climate Change, Green Growth,
Opportunities for Engineering and Manufacturing she said
"Reducing emissions means replacing our current operations,
infrastructure and manufactured goods with low carbon alternatives,
stimulating research and development, providing opportunities for
innovative companies to claim new markets and for the UK to
rebalance its economy through green growth."
"Engineering UK, in its report on the state of engineering in
2012, predicts that over the next 10 or so years there will be a
growth wave in engineering jobs. The UK will need over 2 million
additional engineers. Are we on the threshold of a new golden age
for British engineering? I believe that we hold the responsibility,
and the means, to make this happen."
"Engineering is crucial to our quality of life and to combating
climate change," she commented.
"There are great opportunities for engineers in helping to develop
technologies that will help the world to adjust to climate change,"
A similar message about the job creation potential of the low
carbon economy is contained in the recently published
West Coast Clean
Economy Report commissioned by the Pacific Coast
Collaborative and prepared by Vancouver-based GLOBE Advisors, in
partnership with the Washington D.C. based Centre for Climate
That report cites studies by the American Society of Civil
Engineers and others, that the West Coast region will need to
invest in up to $1 trillion of infrastructure projects in the next
20 years, much of which will be needed to enable the transition
toward a lower carbon economy.