UK economy on track to meet carbon targets

Posted on 1 Dec 2011

The task of rebalancing the UK economy away from carbon is well-progressed and is set to result in greater energy security and the development of new innovative technologies, the government’s Carbon Plan showed today.

The Carbon Plan has set out the UK’s progress in cutting emissions and assesses cost-effective next steps. It shows that the UK’s emissions have been cut by more than 25% on 1990 levels to date, a long way towards the country’s committment to lowering 1990 emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

Another outcome was that the UK’s carbon budget will not have any additional cost implications during this Parliament, but beyond that will require a decade of mass deployment of key technologies.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Chris Huhne, said: “To the negotiators in Durban [location of the UN Climate Change summit], the Carbon Plan shows the UK is walking the walk, living up to our promise to show climate leadership.”

“To the public and businesses at home, rightly worried about the cost of living and state of the economy, the Carbon Plan shows that the gradual rebalancing of our economy away from carbon is achievable and, in the long run, highly desirable.”

Mr Huhne commented that the UK’s commitment to green energy “takes us one more step away from import dependency, away from price volatility and from the emissions that threaten our way of life.”

The Carbon Plan plots the transition to low carbon, keeping as many technologies in play as possible and exploiting normal replacement cycles to avoid infrastructure or equipment becoming prematurely obsolete.

The Carbon Plan has calculated that the cost of energy infrastructure, technology and maintenance currently costs £3,700 per person per year. It calculated that if the UK did not move towards becoming a greener economy, the energy system is likely to cost £4,682 per person per year if taken as an average through to 2050. , reflecting the costs associated with remaining fossil fuel dependent.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change pinpointed the need to decarbonise the power supply, drawing upon EEF’s proposal to fit two EPR reactors at its Hinkley Point nuclear plant as a positive example of ranging low carbon initiatives.

Jonathan Levy, spokesperson for EEF Nuclear, said: “You’re not burning coal or gas so the carbon intensity is only coming from the electricity needed to power a nuclear plant. What’s important is that you decarbonise the electricity sector, one of the ways you do that is by changing the way you produce electricity.”

“By building power stations like we propose at the Hinckley Point, capable of producing a large amount of power, efficiently, safely, securely, affordably – for five million homes,” said Mr Levy.