UK ranked among world’s climate change leaders

7th December 2018

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  • Renewable


Helen Margaret Glover

The UK is second only to Denmark when it comes to transforming energy systems to mitigate climate change, a global study of 25 countries has revealed.

Canada completes the top three, while Indonesia, South Africa and India are bottom of the rankings for clean power, fossil fuels, electric vehicles, capacity for carbon storage, and energy efficiency of buildings and transport.

The UK’s high performance was largely thanks to its phase out of coal, which has been faster than in any other country, while its carbon price is the strongest in Europe.

Uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) is also among the highest in the UK, which is home to the world’s 5th largest fleet, but provision of large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities is low.

The research from Imperial College London (ICL) was launched yesterday at the COP 24 climate summit in Katowice, Poland, where officials from around the world are negotiating how best to implement the Paris Agreement.

Energy minister, Claire Perry, said: “This confirms the UK’s position as a world leader in decarbonising the economy – phasing out coal as we move to a greener, cleaner energy system with record levels of energy from renewables.”

The full rankings are shown below:

Drax Group

Although the UK and Denmark lead, the researchers highlighted how Norway, France and New Zealand have the world’s cleanest power systems, and rely heavily on hydro or nuclear power.

Norway is the country with by far the highest uptake of EVs, with half of all its cars now electric, and also leads for charging points, having one for every 500 people.

Europe remains the global leader in energy efficient housing, particularly in Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. By comparison, China and South Africa are increasing their energy intensity.

The research, commissioned by Drax, also shows that rising disposable incomes have resulted in China, India and Indonesia all increasing their transport energy consumption by more than 50% per person by over the last decade.

ICL’s Dr Iain Staffell, said: “Great strides are being made in cleaning up global electricity generation, and renewable capacity is increasing rapidly all around the world.

“Improving the efficiency of our homes and industries needs urgent effort,” he continued. “Significant investment in carbon capture and storage will also be needed if it is to contribute to limiting climate change.”

Image credit: iStock

Graphic credit: Drax Group


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