Friday, 1 May 2009


Wide-ranging changes in the way we live our lives could dramatically reduce the costs of switching to a low-carbon world, researchers said today.

Measures such as phasing out petrol cars in city centres, lowering the temperatures to which we heat our houses and an increase in internet shopping and tele-conferencing could all help the UK meet its goal to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

If people are prepared to make lifestyle changes which save energy, it could cut the costs to consumers and businesses by up to £50 billion a year - halving how much is currently spent across the country on heat and electricity.

Tougher energy efficiency measures could also give the UK greater energy security and more time to develop low-carbon energy technology, including trapping carbon emissions from power stations and renewables.

But blocking certain green technologies such as onshore wind farms because of ``nimbyism'' could add to the costs of a move to a low-carbon economy, a report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) said.

Jim Skea, research director of UKERC, also warned that while renewable power would play a big role in hitting the 2050 goal, meeting EU targets to generate 15% of the UK's total energy from renewables by 2020 would be a ``very, very big struggle''.

He said the current barriers to the development of renewables, such as problems in planning and grid access for offshore wind, and the short timescale, meant the EU aims were more than challenging.
``Putting energy saving and the development of green sources of power at the heart of policy-making would make the UK a world leader in tackling climate change, increase energy security, end fuel poverty and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

``A green energy revolution is desperately needed to meet the challenges we all face.

``Time is running out - Gordon Brown must show that he has the political courage to develop a safer, cleaner future,'' he said.

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