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Cross Sector Summary of UK Carbon Plan

In 2011 the United Kingdom government set out a Carbon Plan which suggested that the UK economy could de-carbonise and reduce overall emissions up to 70% by 2050 respective to 2012 emissions. 

Eight energy-intensive sectors make up two thirds of industrial emissions from cement, ceramics, chemicals, food and drink, glass, iron and steel, oil refining and pulp and paper.  Despite the fact that these sectors combined only employ around 2% of the UK’s workforce they contribute a staggering annual £50 billion to the economy, approximately 4% of the UK’s Gross Value Added (GVA). However with great monetary returns comes great responsibility as these sectors use the most amount of energy and in turn produce the highest carbon dioxide emissions.

A cross sector summary report by Parsons Brinckerhoff and DNV GL has outlined that subsequently the continued deployment of energy efficiency technologies combined with electricity grid de-carbonisation could deliver 32% emissions reduction by 2050. This could be increased to a 73% emissions reduction by deploying an assessment process of combined ‘maximum technology’ pathway in which the highest technically feasible efficiencies and advanced technologies are adopted irrespective of cost. These assessments are set against assumptions of how industrial emissions will change as a result of changing production levels due to economic cycles.

The core focus is to drive efficiencies through progressive grid de-carbonisation by continued investment in energy efficiency measures and a focus on business as usual. The potential to reduce 81 million tonnes of CO2 in 2012 down to 58 million tonnes of CO2 by 2050 has been identified by Parsons Brinckerhoff and DNV GL which gives an ambitious but far more realistic target of 62% reduction of total emissions relative to the 2012 baseline.