Carbon Brief analysis shows the UK’s CO2 emissions fell for the sixth consecutive year in 2018, the longest series of continuous reductions on record. The estimated 1.5% reduction was once again driven by falling coal use, down 16% compared to a year earlier, whereas oil and gas use were largely unchanged. However, there are signs the recent run of reductions could be coming to an end, with 2018 seeing the smallest fall in the six-year series. The UK’s CO2 emissions were an estimated 361m tonnes (MtCO2) in 2018, some 39% below 1990. Outside years with general strikes, this would be the lowest since 1888, when the first-ever Football League match was played and Tower Bridge was being built in London. These findings are based on Carbon Brief analysis of newly released energy use figures from the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The department will publish its own CO2 estimates on 28 March.
Carbon Brief 4th March 2019 read more »
The government has been warned against complacency on climate change action after figures showed a slowdown in the rate of Britain’s carbon emission cuts. Emissions dropped for the sixth year running in 2018, to 361m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent, a level last seen in the late 19th century. But there are signs the country’s recent period of rapid progress is drawing to a close. The estimated 1.5% decline last year was considerably smaller than the 3.2% fall in 2017 and the 8.7% drop in 2014: the biggest in recent years. Labour, which has pitched itself as more radical than the government on climate change action, said the figures showed the need to speed up decarbonisation. Simon Evans, the policy editor at the group, said: “The lion’s share of recent CO2 reductions in the UK have been due to falling coal use.” But he said that with coal power now accounting for 5% of electricity generation, the scope for additional emissions cuts was “increasingly limited”.
Guardian 4th March 2019 read more »
FT 4th March 2019 read more »
Nick Butler: A radical outlook needs strategy to match. Energy companies should be planning for an industrial revolution driven by renewables. By 2035, renewables (solar and wind) will account for more than 50 per of global power generation; electric vehicles will be the low-cost option for car, van and small-truck drivers; oil demand will be declining; and gas demand will have peaked. Total energy demand will be plateauing despite a growing global economy and a still-rising population. This is not, as you might imagine, the latest summary of aspirations from a campaign group such as Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth. Nor is it an ambitious claim by one of the renewables trade associations. In fact, all the statements above are drawn from a serious, considered projection produced by McKinsey, the global management consultancy. The key is the falling cost of renewables, which are set “to become cheaper than existing coal and gas in most regions by 2030”, McKinsey says. That will encourage electrification across the global economy, driving efficiency by replacing less productive forms of supply. Over the next 20-30 years the energy business is set for an industrial revolution. The 20th-century energy economy, centred on coal and oil, is giving way to something very different. And this transition has ceased to be a matter for the distant future or something that can be pushed off by industry leaders to the next generation of executives. The complacency that smothers hard thinking in most of the major energy companies is outdated. In an industry that thinks on a 20-year horizon, 2035 is within the immediate planning horizon. The revolution is happening now. Establishing a corporate strategy for producing value in very different market conditions should be a priority for all in the sector. We are entering the season when energy companies produce their annual reports and hold their AGMs. Shareholders, large and small, would be well advised to ask the managers and non-executives who work for them to set out in detail their plans for the transition. I would be delighted to publish a collection of the answers.
FT 4th March 2019 read more »