The 4th Carbon Budget and beyond – an electric future?

Adrian Gault,  The CCC

The 2050 UK emission reduction target requires more than an 80% reduction in energy related CO2. The 4th carbon budget sets out the changes that will be needed by 2030 across a number of sectors, showing that there are a range of feasible and cost-effective scenarios. To meet the budget will require: action on renewable heat (a major expansion is needed by 2030, using a range of technology options – heat pumps, biogas and biomass); a significant uptake of low carbon vehicles (particularly electric cars); the decarbonisation of the power sector (with emissions intensities falling, whilst demand is likely to increase) and the need for new capacity to cover the growing demand for electric heat/transport and plant retirements. A range of scenarios for decarbonising the power sector are available that include growing roles for renewables and nuclear power, as well as options for managing intermittency. Gas will continue to play an important role, but is expected to decline in use towards 2050 in both the power and heat sectors. Gas without CCS will need to be phased out by 2050.

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