- Rapid decarbonisation is necessary to achieve net zero by 2050.
- Scotland will invest £1.8 billion in decarbonising public sector estates by providing support elements for public sector bodies such as energy efficiency loans and grants.
- Romania is on track to be the first country in the world to build an SMR nuclear power plant.
- By 2050, switching to renewable energy sources might result in savings of up to $12 trillion, continuing a pattern of large cost savings.
There is currently a big problem that every nation and business faces — and that is getting carbon out of the atmosphere. Time and time again, we hear decision-makers talk about their vision for achieving net zero by 2050. Simply put, net zero means cutting greenhouse gas emissions to as close to zero as possible. And the centre of it all? Decarbonisation.
Decarbonisation 101: What and Why
Decarbonisation is not just a buzzword, it's much more than that. As the word itself suggests, decarbonisation is the reduction of carbon produced by the burning of fossil fuels. This is implemented by replacing oil, coal, and natural gas with carbon-free renewable energy sources like wind power, solar power, and biomass. In other words, it encompasses gradually reducing CO2 output per unit of electricity generated.
To reach the global temperature goals set by the Paris Agreement and the UK government, carbon dioxide emissions from transportation and energy production must be cut down. This does not only involve how energy is generated but also covers how we manufacture and supply goods and services, and how lands are managed.
Countless government and business leaders all around the globe have already agreed to set out a plan to significantly reduce emissions by 2050. So, the question now is, where are we at right now, and how are cities shifting away from fossil fuels.
Pathway to Decarbonised Economy
Ideally, a low-carbon or decarbonised economy is one that relies on energy sources that emit minimal levels of greenhouse gases in order to achieve a green economy. The ultimate aim of a green economy is to attain net zero emissions, whereby worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are offset by emission reductions. This means that while carbon dioxide emissions are still produced, an equivalent amount is eliminated from the atmosphere, resulting in no net increase in emissions.
This is why countries like Scotland are investing £1.8 billion for energy efficiency and zero carbon heating in 23,000 public sector buildings by providing loans and grants that will aid public bodies.
Here are more ways different countries and cities are contributing to decarbonisation:
- The London Stadium will soon be able to sustainably generate its own electricity. There are discussions on possibly wrapping the London Stadium with a multimillion-dollar solar membrane to reduce carbon emissions and utilize solar energy.
- Romania will build the world's first SMR nuclear power plant. Advanced Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are more affordable, flexible, scalable, and simple to integrate with other sustainable energy sources. Worldwide, dozens of SMRs are being developed, but none have been built or received a license. Currently, NuScale is the only SMR with design certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
- San Diego is working towards retrofitting existing homes, businesses, and office buildings. City municipal facilities, like recreation centres, fire stations, libraries, and offices, along with new homes and commercial buildings, must abide by the State Building Code and the City’s development of a Reach Code.
There are more cities and states working towards this race to zero. However, there are still a few that are on the sidelines because they are hesitant about the cost of such initiatives.
Accelerating the Green Economy
Contrary to what is often perceived, green technology is cheaper than before. Despite significant supply chain interruptions, the construction and operational costs of new renewable energy projects were lower than those of coal and natural gas plants this year.
In fact, the London Stadium plan is estimated to cost £4 million over two years, but it is projected to pay for itself after just five years because it is predicted to produce about three million kilowatts of electricity annually.
This trend of significant savings will likely continue for the coming years, where switching to renewable energy can bring savings of up to $12 trillion by 2050.
Overall, the time for decarbonisation is now. Decarbonisation is an essential tool for ensuring a sustainable and liveable future for all and for mitigating the worst impacts of climate change.
Whether you have previously participated in All-Energy & Dcarbonise, or are joining us for the first time, we look forward to seeing you in Glasgow on May 10-11, 2023