New research shows that if the world’s energy consumption grows at the pre-COVID rate, technological change alone will not be enough to halve global CO₂ emissions by 2030 or get us to Net Zero by 2050.
Commenting on his recent paper, Mark Diesendorf from the University of New South Wales in Sydney said we will have to cut energy consumption by 50-75% while accelerating the roll-out of renewable energy.
He points out how fossil fuels provided 80% of primary energy in 2000 but that this had risen to 81% in 2019, despite efforts to boost renewable generation around the world in the meantime.
His views echo those of a number of British think tanks that argue a much greater focus is needed on energy efficiency and lifestyle changes to meet Net Zero goals, and innovation too.
Writing for the Conservative Environment Network, Peter Aldous MP says that in order to make progress, we will need to tackle areas where emission cuts are harder to achieve, including in sectors like heavy industry and chemicals which remain reliant on fossil fuels.
He also argues that we will need to build more behind-the-scenes infrastructure if clean technologies are to reach their full potential, with innovation being vital to this.
To achieve this, he says, we need to create an environment that encourages businesses to develop new clean technologies and encourages trade with other countries to expand the reach of innovative solutions to climate change whilst being wary of regulations that slow down progress and instead support entrepreneurs to innovate.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, organisers of the Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, said that greening the economy creates a host of opportunities for Lancashire businesses: “First and foremost, companies that can come up with clever ways to reduce their own energy and environmental footprint stand to save money, and that’s something that’s recently become even more pressing given the situation with rising energy prices.
“But there are clearly also opportunities to create new business models, innovative new technologies and improved services aimed at helping homeowners, private sector businesses and the public sector to cut emissions across energy, buildings and transport – whether it’s energy saving technology, storage or generation, or emissions avoidance and capture, demand for these sorts of solutions is only going to increase.
“However, there are likely to be wider challenges to tackle that can’t be solved with technological advances alone, especially when it comes to convincing society to make the sort of lifestyle changes and other sacrifices it’s becoming clear will be needed. We know from this year’s Edelman Trust Barometer that the public expects businesses to lead here too.”
The BIBAs again features a Green Business of the Year category in 2022, recognising the increasing importance of sustainability and good corporate citizenship.
Last year’s winner was Old Holly Farm, an organic dairy farm near Garstang run by Ian Pye. It was noted for its commitment to nature and sustainability. Ian said: “We were blown away by it. It’s nice to be recognised for doing the right thing, and meant a lot to us as an organic farm.”