Determining our path to net-zero

Climate Risk Recruitment

Determining our path to net-zero

What is specifically involved in reducing our carbon emissions and reaching our target of net-zero? A new three-year programme is working with stakeholders on the climate agenda and helping everyone from businesses to school children understand what steps are required.

With growing pressure to reduce our emissions and work towards the target of net-zero, there is uncertainty as to how this can be achieved. Countries are utilising interactive models to create carbon reduction targets and share possible solutions with stakeholders in business and society. These models are referred to as ‘calculators’ and focus on the intermediate reduction targets that should be included on our path to net-zero and how we will achieve these goals.

The 2050 calculator offers some answers to these challenges. Using an interactive energy model, enables anyone to create emission reduction plans and understand what impact their choices have. By selecting your preferred level of ambition for decarbonisation, the calculator displays how your choices will affect emissions across the country.

The first calculator was developed in 2011 by the UK Government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change. It allowed users to determine carbon emissions from every aspect of economic activity. In the last decade, several countries have adopted this model and enabled it as an open-source system, creating transparency and a stronger level of trust.

The key purpose of the service is to enable everyone to engage in the discussion concerning economic activity and climate change, while at the same time allowing governments to gain further insights into how their plans can assist the move towards net-zero. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, plans will need to incorporate a greener, cleaner and more resilient growth structure, and the 2050 Calculator along with other UK Climate Finance programmes can support this.

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) selected Mott MacDonald to generate a three-year programme for the extended use of the Calculator. The extensions plans support other nations in creating their version of the model, to determine options for emission reductions that are similar to the levels set in the Paris Agreement. This is a particularly important part of the lead up to the COP2 climate talks later this year. The UK is calling to other nations to raise ambition and take clear action. The 2050 calculator, along with other climate finance project will play an important role in supporting developing countries with these measures.

Teams are utilising government members, academics and NGOs in the early development stages. By incorporating all stakeholders at the early stages ensures all have more awareness and understanding of what is possible with the calculator. Early stakeholder engagement benefits the project team, enabling further access to data on specific regions or countries. Early engagement strengthens the network of stakeholder, provides a better understanding of their needs and encourages further sharing of valuable insights. 

The main goal is to make every calculator an important tool for shaping and determining energy policy before the end of the programme at the end of 2022. Incorporating opportunities for academic institutions, private sector businesses and the public is very important. Previous studies have shown that members of the public that used the calculator became less supportive of fossil fuels and favoured renewable energy projects. Informing people of the alternative options helps change attitudes towards climate change and accelerates further action.


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