UK a leader in using technology to limit climate change

The UK is second only to Denmark when it comes to implementing measures to mitigate climate change, according to a new global energy revolution league table.

Launched at the UN climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, Energy Revolution: A Global Outlook from Imperial College London assessed 25 countries, covering 80 per cent of the world’s population.

Using five metrics, including clean power, fossil fuels, uptake and sales of electric vehicles, capacity for carbon storage and energy efficiency of households, buildings and transport, the report highlighted the advances made by different countries and assessed Denmark, UK and Canada to be world leading.

In the UK it makes an argument that the carbon price – its charge on greenhouse gas emissions which is stronger than elsewhere in Europe – has led to the rapid deployment of renewables and the fastest phase-out of coal power, making for world-leading progress in reducing the carbon emissions from power generation.

The uptake of electric vehicles is also among the highest in the UK, which is home to the world’s 5th largest electric vehicle fleet.

Indeed the UK’s position is only hindered by the provision of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities, needed to limit the harmful greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.

Responding to the findings Will Gardiner, CEO of Drax Group, who commissioned, said: “Our global economy is changing and the transition to zero carbon, lower cost energy is vital if countries are to be able to compete. At Drax, we’ve converted two-thirds of our power station to use biomass instead of coal, transforming the business to become Europe’s biggest decarbonisation project and helping to make the phase-out of coal in the UK the fastest in the world. But we want to do more.”

As the UK and Denmark lead global efforts to move away from coal for power generation, many Asian countries including Indonesia, India and Japan are increasing their reliance on fossil fuels, and whilst residential homes in Portugal, Germany, Netherlands and the UK are among the most energy efficient, rising incomes mean China and South Africa are increasing their energy intensity.

The study shows that rising incomes across the BRIC economies are displacing public transport as populations with rising disposable incomes move towards private vehicles. As a result, China, India and Indonesia have increased their energy consumption per person in transport by over 50 per cent over the last decade.

Full study here.

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