June 16, 2010 / 8:16 AM / in 7 years

UK can purge all carbon emissions by 2030-report

3 Min Read

* Britain can cut 90 percent emissions, capture the rest

* Includes tough steps, does not consider gap in investment

LONDON, June 16 (Reuters) - Britain can eliminate all its carbon emissions by 2030 by overhauling its power supply, national diet and transport, a report by the UK's Centre for Alternative Technology said on Wednesday.

The blueprint to fight climate change did not require a "hair shirt, survivalist rejection of modernity," said author Rob Hopkins, founder of Britain's Transition Towns movement.

"At least one set of policy options ... exists to eliminate carbon emissions whilst simultaneously enhancing our quality of life," said co-author, Graham Parkhurst of the Centre for Transport and Society.

Suggestions which may struggle for public acceptance, however, included a halving or more of food imports, replacement of short-haul flights with buses and trains, and a 70-80 percent cut in consumption of livestock products, which are associated with emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

Such measures could win public acceptance through canny communication and "social marketing tools".

The 400-page, "Zero Carbon Britain 2030" report argued that Britain should take a lead in fighting climate change as one of the world's first nations to undergo industrialisation.

Other recommended measures included a more than halving of energy demand, through better efficiency, and an overhauling of the fossil fuel-based electricity supply, to rely on hydro, wind, biomass and barely tested wave power.

Such deployment would be achieved through a combination of penalties on fossil fuels and incentives for green power.

Upfront capital would come from public and private funds. The report did not address a possible energy funding gap where neither utilities, banks, pension funds nor governments were able to stump up all the cash required, estimated at 200 billion pounds ($296.5 billion) in Britain through 2020.

Outside the energy sector, agriculture would drive zero net carbon emissions through practices which lock carbon emissions in the soil, called carbon sequestration, while towns would be re-modelled to be less car-dependent.

The proposals went much further than a British commitment under domestic law to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by 2020 compared with 1990 levels and by 80 percent by 2050 -- already considered ambitious.

Last year Britain ranked 11th globally on a league table of carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, but its emissions fell 8.2 percent compared with the previous year as a result of recession.

About 130 countries support an accord agreed in Copenhagen in December which said the world should limit warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius. Average temperatures have risen about 0.8 degrees since 1850, which most scientists agree is largely due to manmade greenhouse gases.

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