Carbon Neutrality

Zero Carbon Britain and Net Zero

I prepared the following paper for the Councils’ climate emergency working groups. It notes key elements of the Zero Carbon Britain report prepared by the Centre for Alternative Technology and summarises the official Committee on Climate Change’s Net Zero report, which was published in May 2019. The scenarios in these reports provide ideas and analysis on where we should be heading for a carbon neutral future. These are guides to the scale of action required and help with checking that the right steps are being taken along the way.

  •  Achieving Carbon Neutrality or Net Zero

See the infographics below for summaries of both scenarios.

Somerset Climate Action Network

Somerset Climate Action Network, set-up by local groups and campaigners, published the following papers to identify potential actions and areas of influence for Somerset local authorities.

  •  The Somerset 2030 Carbon Neutral Target – Local Authority Actions (July 2019)

•  Towards a Carbon Neutral Somerset – Recommendations (April 2020)

  •  Towards a Carbon Neutral Somerset – Evidence Base (May 2020)


UPDATE (8/12/2019) – Zero Carbon Britain re-issued

The Centre for Alternative Technology has updated Zero Carbon Britain with the following publications:

  •  Executive Summary

  •  Full Report

Brief details are given in the infographics below, my news post and a summary and comparison of the Zero Carbon Britain and Net Zero scenarios.

UPDATE (12/3/2020) – Energy Systems Catapult and Innovative Technologies

Energy Systems Catapult have published a report on Innovating to Net Zero. This aligns with CCC’s Net Zero guidelines and aims to provide credible pathways for the UK to get to Net Zero. They recommend:

  • Innovation support for nuclear, carbon capture and storage and hydrogen technologies, including advanced and modular nuclear and floating offshore wind.
  • Economic incentives to go low carbon, such as new buildings standards for low or zero carbon heating, road transport, and climate friendly land use choices.
  • Local area energy planning and reform of power markets.

It’s an interesting and controversial report, including for saying that achieving “Net Zero before 2050 is unlikely without highly speculative changes to lifestyle, land use and low carbon technologies – such as banning aviation and meat production”.

My view is that research and development for some of the technologies identified should continue. However, for widespread adoption, these will need to be shown to be deliverable, practical and without large negative impacts or risks. We also cannot wait and they need to be able to deliver within the next ten years if the worst impacts of climate change are to avoided. For the sake of our planet and all of us living on it, we need to be working towards achieving Net Zero as quickly as possble and before 2050, especially developed countries like the UK.

A fair transition is needed and choosing to adopt low and zero carbon liefstyles can greatly help, so these should be encouraged – it would be foolish not to do so. However, most would only expect aviation and meat consumption to be reduced, not banned, and for these to remain choices, within some reasonable limits.

Net Zero and Zero Carbon Britain infographics