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Energy efficiency, not renewables, key to UK’s carbon targets

by mel starrs on February 4, 2007

in Uncategorized

edit: this was originally posted 22 January, but I fear there may have been a glitch and it has been marked as private.  Odd.  Anyway, here it is again…

Spotted via the IET headlines, this article in the Telegraph highlights the findings of a report in Energy Policy in December which criticises the fragmented approach the UK government has to meeting it’s carbon targets. I’ve hunted out the abstract to the report, but can’t put my hands on the full version. If anyone knows where I might find it, please let me know. It makes interesting reading and reminds us that carbon reduction is a complex issue (as David Attenborough reminded us last night in the BBC program ‘Climate Change: Britain under threat‘ (which you should be able to watch online soon)). I’ve posted the abstract of the report below for information (my emphasis in italics):

The role of energy efficiency in reducing Scottish and UK CO2 emissions Nick Kelly. Energy Policy. Kidlington: Dec 2006.Vol.34, Iss. 18; pg. 3505

In 2003, the UK government launched its long-anticipated White Paper on energy, the centrepieces of which were ambitious targets for the production of electricity from renewable technologies and the long-term aspiration of a 60% reduction in UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In the White Paper it was recognized that such a dramatic reduction in emissions will require significant changes in the way in which energy is produced and used. However there has been a general failure to recognize the fact that in order to meet emissions targets, the UK will have to significantly reduce its energy consumption; this is not helped by the general misconception in the UK that reductions in CO2 emissions will occur simply by increasing the production of electricity from renewable sources. Specifically, this paper highlights the current trends in renewables deployment and energy demand, with a specific focus on Scotland, where the authorities have set more ambitious renewables targets than the rest of the UK. As will be demonstrated in this paper, without energy demand reduction, the deployment of renewables alone will not be sufficient to curtail growth in UK CO2 emissions. This is illustrated using a case study of the Scottish housing sector; whilst this case study is necessarily local in scope, the results have global relevance. The paper will also address the magnitude of energy savings required to bring about a reduction in emissions and assesses the status of the policies and technologies that could help bring such reductions about.