2050 might feel like a distant date in the future and it’s true, we have a long road ahead towards net-zero. Many conversations about energy use will take place along the way – discussions about reducing emissions, promoting renewables and investing in new technologies for efficiency and decarbonisation.
The thing is, our efforts to phase out fossil fuels are not keeping pace with our emissions targets. But how do we know this? Well, we may not be able to predict the future but we can model it, and that’s exactly what we’ve done at CREDS. For the first time, we’ve modelled what the next decades might hold for the UK’s energy demand landscape.
We asked ourselves how low can we take our energy demand without impacting our quality of life? We fed our model different data points to project four possible scenarios. We could ignore, steer, significantly shift or completely transform our approach to energy demand and one thing became clear: doing nothing is simply not an option.
We need to start talking about considerably reducing our energy demand and understanding its contribution towards our emissions targets. Our conversations on how to achieve net-zero need to be widened. Questions like these will still be important but we need to start thinking differently.
It turns out a substantial reduction in our energy use is the only way forward as part of a net-zero pathway. This carries challenges, but the good news is that demand reduction is viable, affordable and it carries none of the risks associated with untested and expensive technologies. It can unlock our targets on the way to 2050 as part of a comprehensive climate roadmap. It’s the missing piece that complements and enhances all our technology driven efforts and nature-based solutions.
This conversation belongs to everyone, and the best part? It’s also a conversation about better air quality, more active living, warmer homes and healthier diets.