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Zero Carbon Britain
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Zero Carbon Britain

The Center for Alternative Technology's Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB) is a vision for our country. It is a very well thought out document that demonstrates a sustainable future for the UK, which is not only achievable but also very attractive. I can see - after years looking at the scale of the climate change challenge with a sense of resignation - this Zero Carbon future really is a ray of hope.

The document is over 120 pages but it is a nice read: it doesn't waffle and the diagrams are easy to understand. You can download it from (the report is currently here), and I strongly recommend that you do. The key messages that I have gathered follow. Hopefully this will give you the gist if you don't have time to read the full thing.

  • No miracle solutions are required - we have already invented all of the technology needed to make ZCB happen.
  • The UK energy supply vision is key: we take advantage of our massive offshore wind potential, cleverly combined with home-grown, sustainable biofuels. This is the backbone to a very cunning energy supply infrastructure.
  • We don't waste anything anymore.
  • We won't be reliant on imports.
  • Our nation's diet will change to one that is more healthy and wholesome. In this, meat will be much more of a luxury.
  • We will get fitter as well, as walking and cycling are encouraged in urban transport.
  • Cars will be electric and there will be less of them. This will make our towns safer and less polluted.
  • Our landscape will be enhanced with more forest, and more wildlife-friendly agriculture.
  • So we will be healthier, with more nice places to spend time in, and our future will be full of hope...this is actually recipe for happy nation!
  • For those who rate money over happiness, there are 1.5 million jobs created and an economic future that doesn't rely on the severe damage to our children's world.

Zero Carbon Britain is an aspiration to aim at by 2030. If this could happen - and the rest of the world follow a similar trajectory (like I have described in my global emissions targets) - CAT estimate that we have a 67% chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C. This would save the UK £ billions every year, compared to the costs of trying to adapt to a warmer climate (much more extreme weather: heat waves, flash floods, droughts, diseases like Ash tree dieback and name a few recognised consequences).

  • 2030 is only 17 years away. From my experience of working in the public sector - and my knowledge of the pitifully-few people working on climate change - that is a very short timescale. But it niggles me that it is actually possible. It would need a lot of positive people...and a social revolution...but what a prize!
  • And back to those readers with a more negative viewpoint: this vision is out there on the worldwide web. There is a lot money and power to be made out of ZCB: the technologies / patents, the skilled labour force, the economic stability. Can we really afford to have Germany, China, France or the USA beat us to the prize?

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