Seminar with John Barrett, Leeds University, 16 December 2015
The Intergovernmental Panel of 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 though of the purpose and end goal of industrial energy. Ultimately, all industrial energy use in 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.