Dave Elliott: We need to stop wasting energy. So says “Shifting the focus: energy demand in a net-zero carbon UK”, the first report from CREDS, the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. It claims that changes to the way that energy is used are critical to the development of a secure, affordable and sustainable energy system. “In recent decades, more than 90% of the progress in breaking the relationship between carbon emissions and economic growth globally has come from reducing the energy intensity of the economy,” it says. “By comparison, reducing the carbon emissions per unit of energy has, to date, been a relatively minor effect.” That’s quite a bold claim and needs a bit of unpacking. There have certainly been improvements in energy efficiency in many sectors. And, as the report says, “in leading energy-importing countries, energy efficiency improvements have played a major role in reducing dependence on imported fuel”. However, some energy demand reductions have been due to structural changes in the economy, not energy efficiency initiatives as such.
Physics World 4th Sept 2019 read more »