A new report has been published stating that just 1% of the UK’s wealth could be used to tackle 78% of its emissions by 2035, based on 1990 levels of carbon dioxide emissions.
The report comes from the UK’s Climate Change Committee (CCC), and says that tackling the issues of environmental management and climate change might take less resources and financing than previously believed.
The CCC says that with the investment of 1% of the UK’s wealth, the United Kingdom could accelerate its previously announced energy goals by more than 15 years. The investments are becoming increasingly cost-effective, as the renewable energy sector continues to grow and sustainable technologies become a cheaper, competitive option.
The Committee says that the investment of 1% of the UK’s wealth being put toward environmental considerations could tackle more than 78% of the UK’s emissions by 2035. The CCC says that “the message to the government is clear: the 2020s must be the decisive decade of progress and action on climate change.”
According to a report from the BBC, “they estimate the costs of the low-carbon revolution will scale up to an annual £50bn by 2030 from around £10bn today, with the most being private investment… By 2030, they estimate that some of these costs will be offset by the fuel savings of 18bn”
The authors of the report made clear that in order to meet emissions targets and lessen the damage from climate change, the UK must meet the following criteria:
- Reduce demand for activities that increase carbon emissions. This means curbing the projected growth in flying and leaving cars at home wherever possible.
- To reduce meat-eating. The committee thinks current dietary trends will result in a cut in red meat consumption of 24% by 2035, and suggests low-carbon lab-grown meat may be on the table by then.
- To encourage the take-up of clean technology, such as electric cars, heat pumps, hydrogen boilers and carbon capture and storage (CCS) – where emissions are buried underground.
- To expand low-carbon energy: wind power, solar power, hydrogen and, probably, nuclear.
- To offset emissions that can’t readily be cut by that time, such as from farming and aviation. This would include planting trees and using CCS.
Professor Euan Nisbet from the Royal Holloway University of London has told the BBC that “this is a massively important report that maps out a whole new economy for Britain to create a better country.”
“This shows it can be done. It can be afforded. This is world-leading, and it’ll persuade other countries also to follow the path,” Professor Nisbet said.
The CCC says that if the UK is to follow through on its recommendations and invest 1% of its wealth into efforts to tackle 78% of emissions by 2035, the UK will have no trouble in meeting its obligations of the Paris agreement.
Under the Paris Climate Accord, a huge number of nations have agreed to implement a number of environmental measures to ensure global temperatures do not rise more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. According to the BBC’s report, “so far, temperatures have increased around 1.1C and are contributing to devastating forest fires and ice loss at the poles. As a result, some scientists believe dangerous climate change may have already begun.”
The Committee on Climate Change says that behavioural change represents a 16% slice of the prerequisites for meeting climate targets, which was dwarfed by low-carbon technologies that could power the world without a major shift in behaviour.
The authors do say, however, that behavioural change is an important part of meeting environmental targets, and encourage the public to drive less, adopt public transport, eat less meat, install energy efficient fixtures and heating in their home and purchase less goods online.