Seminar: Linking the economy and energy sector: production and consumption changes for a low material and carbon future John Barrett, 16th December 2015

Seminar with John Barrett, 16th December 2015 to be Livestreamed from Leeds University.

 Viewing at Lancaster University in FASS D72: MR11  12.30- 14.00

Linking the economy and energy sector: production and consumption changes for a low material and carbon future

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides robust evidence demonstrating the need to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) rapidly to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The UK Government defines its contribution towards this goal as achieving an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050 from a 1990 baseline. Mitigation efforts to reduce industrial energy has been limited in the UK and focusing on energy efficiency opportunities with little thought of the purpose and end goal of industrial energy. Ultimately, all industrial energy use is a result of demand for goods and services. Energy is required at each stage in the manufacture of a product from raw material extraction through to the final distribution and ultimately disposal.


The presentation considers whether the UK has achieved a reduction in energy demand or whether energy has been outsourced with materials and products being the “carrier” of industrial energy. As other sectors show some signs of decarbonisation, industrial energy demand grows as savings in direct energy unlock further demand for products. By linking wider economic activities with the energy agenda, the presentation demonstrates the need for a systematic “economy wide” approach to climate change mitigation.



John holds a Chair in Sustainability Research at the Sustainable Research Institute (SRI), University of Leeds. His research interests include sustainable consumption and production (SCP) modelling, carbon accounting and exploring the transition to a low carbon pathway. John has been an advisor to the UK Government on the development of carbon footprint standards and continues to work with the UK Government on “Consumption-based Emissions” being responsible for providing the headline indicator for the UK. John also works closely with other government bodies such as the Committee on Climate Change having provided advice on carbon leakage, consumption based scenarios, embodied emissions and policy options. John is also the director of CIE-MAP, a £4 million initiative funded by the UK Research Council centres. In addition, John is the co-director of UKERC, the multidisciplinary research centre established through the Research Council’s Energy Programme.  John is an accomplished public speaker having presented to Government Select Committees and regularly appearing on Radio 4 while the research is regularly covered in the broad sheet media. John has managed numerous research projects and a large research team for over 15 years. John is also a lead author for the International Panel on Climate Change, Working Group III.


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