During the next 40 years, the UK will have to rebuild its energy supply infrastructure almost completely, at a cost of about £3 trillion. Our present pattern of energy supply and demand is totally inappropriate in a world threatened by climate change. We need to reshape it completely before it is too late.
Public opinion is deeply divided on the choice of technologies to be used to bring about the required restructuring, and also about the scale of achievable energy savings which might influence this choice. The only unambiguous guidance from government has been an international commitment that the UK will reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 80% by the year 2050.
British Pugwash has published an expert report designed to address these issues. Pathways to 2050: Three possible UK energy strategies discusses three possible UK energy strategies which have been constructed using the ‘Pathways to 2050 Calculator’ which has been made publicly available by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
Each strategy (‘High Nuclear’, ‘High Renewables’ and ‘Intermediate’ ) achieves the 80% reduction, and uses energy technologies which either exist or can reasonably be expected to be brought to sufficient commercial maturity in time.