Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is said to be achievable with current technology, according to a recent report.
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) stated a net-zero carbon Britain is already possible without any future technology developments.
The report claimed that by making changes to buildings, transport and industry, demand for energy could be reduced by 60%. It also stated making more changes to energy, our diet and the lay of the land use could lead to renewable energy being the only source of energy, as well as cutting emissions from agriculture and industry.
The UK government has, however, described the carbon capture technology as “game-changing” when addressing climate change, with the first project set to be operational next year.
So how can we become carbon zero?
Firstly, CAT said new houses being built need to be to a standard where energy costs can be cut to just £15 a year. This would be achieved by using insulated masonry and concrete, triple-glazing, LED lighting and air-source heat pumps.
It is possible that changes could be made to existing buildings to enhance temperature control, with the potential of heating being reduced by 50%.
Meanwhile, transport demand, the report claims, could be reduced by up to 78%, by increased use of public transport, walking, cycling and using EVs. The aim is also to cut flights by two thirds.
Increasing energy supplies
Based on the UK’s energy use figures in the last decade, it appears possible to meet demand with renewable and carbon-neutral energy-based sources.
Wind power would make up half with the rest being generated from geothermal, hydro, tidal and solar. Carbon-neutral synthetic fuels are also an important alternative to electricity.
Transforming land and diets
Diets can help us to reach carbon zero by switching from meat and dairy-based diets to plant-based proteins. CAT has said we can reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions by 57% and cut food imports from 42% to 17%. Three-quarters of current livestock can also be used for restoring forests and peatlands.
Also, as a country, CAT insists, we are currently importing many foods which could easily be grown in the UK.
Plenty of food for thought, I’m sure you’d agree!