Report: UK must dig deep to meet emissions targets

London – The UK’s energy intensive industries will need to develop and implement often costly new technologies to meet emission reduction targets, according to a briefing published by the UK Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).

The government’s Carbon Plan predicts that total industrial emissions may have to be reduced 70% by 2050, notes report author Iwan Roberts, an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council doctoral student at University College London.

However, the report highlights figures from energy consultancy firm Element Energy showing that UK emissions might fall just 13% over the next four decades – assuming no significant ‘carbon leakage’ and only the best available technology being implemented.

The government, therefore, has to balance the competing goals of reducing carbon emissions while keeping industry in the UK, the briefing argued.

“UK emission reductions could fall well short of government targets without promising new technologies such as coke-free steel making, or use of waste-derived biologically based feedstocks in the process industries,” said Roberts.

“Beyond 2020, transformative, and potentially expensive, technologies such as carbon capture and storage will be needed to make significant improvements.”

Roberts says: “I had some really interesting conversations while researching the note and I was excited to hear the progress being made in the development of these next generation technologies to meet the challenges of moving towards a competitive low carbon manufacturing economy.”