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Zero Carbon Britain 2030

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new report published by the Centre for Alternative Technology, on Wednesday 16th June, includes input from 13 universities, 12 research bodies and eight key industry players, highlights a path for a zero carbon transition by 2030. For the first time, comprehensive energy strategy has been produced that could reduce emissions to zero for all regaining energy security.

‘zerocarbonbritain 2030 shows how the right mix of wind power, hydro, solar, biomass – plus an intelligent grid to manage demand. We can ‘keep the lights on’ and supply the energy the country needs – with major win/wins across the economy.’ Paul Allen CAT.

The report, aims to integrate thinking across a range of sectors and identify potential for ‘Powering Down’ through reducing demand and ‘Powering Up’ renewables to 100% by 2030 with no requirement for nuclear energy.

‘We have the lifetime of this parliament to break Britain’s fossil fuel addiction. The BP fiasco underlines how important it is that we act now. If we do, we can enjoy greater energy security and a more sustainable, dynamic and resilient economy. If we don’t we will lurch from one energy and environmental crisis to another on a downward spiral. Zerocarbonbritain 2030 shows us how to begin the Great Transition and reveals its huge potential.’ Andrew Simms, policy director of nef (the new economics foundation).

Key priorities


63% reduction in energy use for transport could be achieved by:

  • A switch from petrol/diesel powered vehicles to electric/battery powered vehicles.
  • Rail and bus services replacing domestic and short haul flights.
  • Two thirds reduction in long haul aviation using kerosene fuel produced fro coppice in the UK.


50% reduction in heat and electricity demand could be achieved by:

  • Insulation of all of Britain’s uninsulated cavity walls and lofts.
  • Using natural construction materials such as wood, straw and other natural materials will lock away CO2.

Land use

  • Britain can grow most of its own food whilst still producing biomass for heating, electricity and transport fuel.
  • Land can be used to mop up residual emissions through sequestration.
  • A 80% reduction in livestock products that generate 82% of greenhouse gases in the agricultural sector. Non-livestock products generate more food and have a higher nutritional value.


The report also recognises that action in the UK alone is not enough, making the transition will require unprecedented collaboration on a global scale. The report:

  • Emphasises the urgent need for an international agreement.
  • Explores different policy options for emissions reduction including cap and trade, carbon tax and tradable energy quotas.

‘CAT’s new report shows that a zero carbon Britain is both desirable and achievable. The first stop on the journey should be a 10% reduction. We have tens of thousands of individuals and businesses already working towards this target. CAT’s report should serve as an inspiration to us all,’ Eugenie Harvey, Director 10:10 UK.

The Royal Institution of Great Britain

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