Denmark, the UK, and Canada rank as the top three countries transforming their energy systems to combat climate change. This is according to the Energy Revolution Global Outlook Report, a study of 25 countries conducted by Imperial College and E4Tech.
While ranking second overall, the UK is within the top 7 countries for reducing the energy intensity of its economy, and it has the 5th largest fleet of electric vehicles. The UK has seen the world’s fastest rate of phasing out coal, largely driven by taxation in the form of the Carbon Price Floor. In addition, renewable support mechanisms have increased renewable generation capacity. Government figures show that power output from coal has fallen from 30% of the generating mix in 2014 to 2.5% of the mix in Q3 2018.
However, the Global Outlook report noted the lack of carbon capture and storage (CCS) capacity as a negative feature of the UK energy system, along with the level of fiscal support for the fossil fuel industry.
Norway, France, and New Zealand were shown to have the world’s cleanest power systems because they have abundant levels of hydro or nuclear power. Meanwhile, China is cleaning up its electricity faster than most of Europe but still has a carbon intensity of 640 gCO2/kWh compared to the global average of 450g/kWh. The report advised that if China could reduce its carbon intensity by a third, global CO2 emissions would fall by around 4%.
China has reduced the energy intensity of its industry by approximately 30%. Concerns are often raised regarding the export of emissions, where production is relocated from the UK to other parts of the world. Therefore, global emissions from industry is an important measure. It was found that only a few countries, such as China, India and Japan, have directly targeted industry to implement measures improving efficiency.
In October, the IPCC found that unless global warming is kept to a maximum of 1.5C above pre- industrial levels, there will be increased risks of dangerous climate events such as drought, floods, and heatwaves. To achieve this, global emissions of CO2 would need to see significant cuts by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.
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