Low Carbon Transition Plan: UK Takes Lead in Global Climate Change Fight


The British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in July unveiled a plan to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent by 2020 compared to 1990 levels.

In par with the 2007 IPCC recommendations and far beyond the United States’ and Europe’s goals on climate change mitigation, the United Kingdom is willing to act as leader in the fight on global warming ahead of the Copenhagen discussions in December.

This occurs as China is urging developed nations to cut their emissions by 40 percent by 2020 and as the 49 least developed countries (and many others) are demanding even more drastic cuts.

Reaching these most ambitious targets will need a comprehensive plan and Ed Miliband, the British Secretary of State of Energy and Climate Change, is willing to use all means to succeed — from energy efficiency and conservation to renewables and nuclear.

Due to create more than a million jobs and significantly cut the country’s natural gas imports, the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan is an example to be followed quickly.

The plan foresees that by 2020 around 40 percent of the nation’s electricity needs will be answered by low carbon sources such as renewable energies and nuclear. Renewables alone will account for 30 percent of the electricity mix.

Energy efficiency is also an important part of the plan. No less than seven million homes are expected to haven been benefitted from retrofitting and weatherizing support by 2020. Additionally, smart meters are to be installed in each house or apartment to help people cut their energy consumption.

According to the plan, cars will have to emit 40 percent less carbon dioxide than current models, emitting as little as 95 grams of CO2 per km on average. The plan will also invest in cycling as an alternative to driving.

As if  this fantastic plan wasn’t already enough, the United Kingdom might soon launch a new high speed rail network, which would link London to Glasgow and Edinburgh in approximately two hours, compared to more than four hours today.

Requiring no less than £34 billion ($55 billion) up to 2020, this plan would build 1,500 miles (around 2,400 km) of new tracks and link almost all major cities. It would also replace the equivalent of 900 flights per day.

There are many other ideas entailed in the plan — for example, the UK will also be investing in a bigger, smarter electricity grid, clean coal and electric cars.

Three months before discussions about the future of the Kyoto Protocol will resume in Copenhagen, her Majesty’s Government seems to be committed to spurring competition on climate change mitigation and cleantech.

Let’s hope the UK’s call will be heard. If replicated on a global scale, this would create millions of jobs for CleanTechies around the world!

About Author

Fascinated by sustainability and cleantech since 2004, Edouard wrote both his Bachelor of Arts' dissertation and Master's thesis on sustainable energy topics. He hasn't stopped writing on these subjects ever since. A French Masters graduate in international management, Edouard has a several experience in Marketing and Communications in Europe and Latin America. Since 2007 Edouard has been selecting for his own blog the latest headlines and best researches on sustainable development, climate change, cleantech and the world energy sector. Nowadays Edouard is pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Business as well as a certificate in Sustainable Energy Solutions at Pinchot University . Edouard has been submitting articles to CleanTechies.com since June 2009, mostly on French and European policies. Don't hesitate to contact him as he is always interested in discussing cleantech with new people.


  1. Pingback: More on the UK Low Carbon Transition Plan :: Sustainable development and much more

  2. Often overlooked is how the UK Govt is also seeking to change the non-domestic built environement. Commentary on this and the related subject of sustainable IT at the GreenBricks blog

  3. I think that they have set a great goal! I would love to see everyone clean up the planet. Everybody needs to take responsibility. I like the fact that the UK is taking a stance and standing up as a leader for our environment.


  4. Pingback: Book Review: Sustainable Energy -– Without the Hot Air, by David JC MacKay - CleanTechies