The Centre for Alternative Technology has just released a report, http://zerocarbonbritain.com
Response Below by Stephen Stretton
Cambridge Zero Carbon Society
- Very positive report
- Answering the correct question: how to decarbonise our economy over 20 years
- Largely comes up with a plausible solution: i.e. use electricity rather than fossil fuels.
- Plenty of useful detail on the global context
- Less detail on policy – crucial as it is policy led.
- Less detail on how/why we should expect the changes that have been made to come about.
- Concern that same outcome could be achieved at lower (resource and economic) cost
- The cost/benefits of policies to general economic well being are very important as they will determine whether other countries follow our lead.
Policy: Zero Carbon Britain
Use of Tradable Energy Quotas (TEQs): Volatility and administrative complexity issues.
Carbon tax, combined with a citizen’s income and a public information campaign might be
‘Energy for a common purpose’ could be attacked cynically by speculators etc since it amounts to a fully tradable price of energy. It adds administrative complexity without benefit
Use of Feed-in-Tarrifs is not outlined anywhere in the book, but probably amount to a vast
subsidy. Direct cost to treasury of feed-in tarrifs?
High Cost to UK general economic well being
Will be copied by other countries? Doubtful?
Policy: Cambridge Zero Carbon Society
Carbon Tax + Citizens Income – rather than VAT and income tax. (Cost to treasury:
Encourage Low cost energy by price guarantees– to secure our energy future without
huge subsidies.(Cost to the treasury: Zero). A minimum electricity price of (say) 6p/kWh could encourage the adoption of economic energy technologies on a large scale.
High Benefit to UK general economic well being
Global effect – others might follow us?
Energy: Zero Carbon Britain
Largest contributions are from
- Offshore Wind, particularly deep-offshore
- Wave technology
Wave technology: talking about a million fold increase. (Wave machines from here to Iceland!)
Investing in these technologies will reduce the price but perhaps not enough to make them economic – inherent resource cost is relatively high.
Other countries don’t have as much (if any) free sea.
Investing in expensive technologies may not be the best use of our money as these technologies may not be taken up by the rest of the world
Energy: Cambridge Zero Carbon Society
The three technologies which are not included are potentially the most significant namely:
- (International) Concentrated Solar Energy,
- Nuclear Energy, and
- Coal with Carbon Capture and storage.