China Energy 2050: decoupling development from emissions

In an attempt to tie my last post to my current situation I am blogging directly from Heathrow T5 en-route to Beijing. I’m not sure if any of you had a play with the DECC 2050 Calculator but if you did you will have noticed how difficult it is to meet the 80% reduction targets in the UK.

Now imagine you have a population of a billion people and growing…yes DECC have released a version of the calculator in relation to the Chinese Energy system which you can find here.

The scale of meeting such a demand is huge, never mind attempting to reduce it significantly while concurrently trying to develop.

The average Chinese citizen has a per capita emission of 5.7 tonnes per year compared to that of the UK citizen of around 7.8 tonnes. The scary part is really when you look at the underlying trends: increasingly per capita consumption in China, while the UK’s is starting to come down.

This poses the critical questions of how to you decouple economic development from carbon emissions? And also from the increasing societal expectations of such a country?

If you thought our challenge was big think again. I truly believe that people are the key to this issue. People need to be able to achieve the same satisfaction of their needs from a clean or renewable energy source as they do currently, in a convenient and cost effective way.

It’s all about providing a service whether that service is heat or electricity the majority of people care about their comfort and quality of life and not their energy consumption. I also think that communications can play a huge role in this, getting this type of user engagement right is vital to the success of any decarbonisation plan.

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