Zero Carbon Britain Think Tank


Zero Carbon Britain Think Tank

A space where FierySpirits can help CAT by peer reviewing various chapters of our up coming new ZeroCarbonBritian 2 report.

Location: Centre for Alternative Technology
Members: 21
Latest Activity: Jun 25, 2010

Zero Carbon Britain 2 briefing papers for review

Discussion Forum

Dealing prudently with deficit

As Britain braces itself to deal with some of the harshest public spending cuts since the Second World War, it is vital we consider the big picture, and ensure we create a more resilient economy.The…Continue

Started by Paul Allen May 18, 2010.

Sneak Peak at Zero Carbon Britain 2030

 Thanks for all your ideas and contributions to Zero Carbon Britain. As a thank you we have this exclusive sneak peak at the new report.This paper on Behaviour is part of the “Power Down” theme of…Continue

Tags: Energy, Security, Behaviour, Communications, Change

Started by Martin Kemp Mar 31, 2010.

What's the 'Zero Carbon Britain Think-tank' all about? 1 Reply

Join us in co-creating a vision for vibrant & resilient 21st century communitiesA great deal has changed across the world in the two years since the summer 2007 when the Centre for Alternative…Continue

Started by Paul Allen. Last reply by Chris church Dec 2, 2009.


Please find attached the transport section, I welcome your feedback.very best regards,PaulContinue

Started by Paul Allen Nov 17, 2009.

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Comment by Paul Allen on June 25, 2010 at 15:28
Thanks to all FierySpirits who helped us with the Report!!

On the 16th of June the All Party Parliamentary Climate Group hosted the UK launch of a new report from the Centre for Alternative Technology - zerocarbonbritain2030. Speakers were Paul Allen and Peter Harper from CAT, Victoria Johnson from the new economics foundation author of the economics chapter of the report, Godfrey Boyle renewable energy expert from the Open University and climate scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Sir John Houghton. The event took place as part of the first all party climate committee of the new coalition government and welcomed MPs from constituencies across the UK as well as industry experts, representatives from other green organisations, and authors and contributors to the report. Minister from the Department of Energy and Climate Change Chris Huhne atteded the launch to pick up a copy of the report.

- Sir John Houghton outlines the climate science underpinning the report -

This new report provides political and economic solutions to the urgent challenges raised by the triple challenges of climate security, energy securityand economic security, outlining how we can transform the UK into an efficient, clean, prosperous zero-carbon society. Covering energy, transport, land use, the built environment and industry, each chapter of the report has been written by bringing together the UK’s leading thinkers in their field including policy makers, scientists, academics, industry and NGOs. It examines how we can meet ourelectricity and heating requirements through efficient service provision, while still decreasing carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other emissions.

The report opens by examining the current “Context” in the Climate Science and Energy Security chapters. It then moves on to how the UK can can “PowerDown” heat and electricity demand largely through new technology, efficient design and behaviour change. The "Land Use & Agriculture" section considers the tremendous potential of the land not only to decrease emissions but also to sequester residual emissions. The authors then move on to how we can “PowerUp” through the use of renewable technology. Finally it examines the policy that can help bring this about and the economic benefits and job creation that will come with it, in the "Framework, policy and economics" section.

Paul Allen, Peter Hartper, Victoria Johnson (nef) and Godfrey Boyle (OU)

The Centre for Alternative Technology first published An Alternative Energy Strategy for the UK in 1977. This new report is intended to spur discussion and debate amongst the whole of society, demonstrating how greenhouse gas emissions could be completely eliminated from a developed society. It is intended to act as a reference point for politicians and policy makers. It can also be used as an educational tool and can help local community groups and enthusiasts gain a broad knowledge of solutions to climate change. In Europe, America and across the world, many organisations are examining how their nations and regions can make a transition from fossil fuels. Please contact us at if you know of any similar project.

The report is available free to download from
Comment by Martin Kemp on March 31, 2010 at 14:25
Many thanks for all the input into Zero Carbon Britain and feedback on the drafts.
Comment by Paul Allen on December 10, 2009 at 18:52
Indeed, Anthony, the phrase 'Gross National Transition' springs to mind...

Comment by Anthony Hodgson on December 10, 2009 at 16:38
Should rural dwellers who are not wealthy landowners or retuired rich business men and professionals be allowed to be mobile in a zero carbon world? To substitute workable (for livelihood reasons) public transport for the ubiquitous car will be an evolutionary trick as stunning as the deep throated flowers and the humming bird's beaks! Else we have a big issue of social justice and potential return to feudalism.
On a more central note I begin to feel we need to make an Aikido move on the growth economy by proposing and insinuating a DISPLACEMENT GROWTH ECONOMY (yes, growth no less) but growth in areas that displace the old socio-technological system with one which in earth benign. This will take decades but hopefully by then significant mitigation will have been achieved and enough people will have figured out how to run a steady-state economy. Just a thought!
Comment by Paul Allen on December 9, 2009 at 15:57
Science says ‘we must’, technology says ‘we can’
COP15 could be our last chance to say ‘we will’

Even within the US, there is a growing consensus that science says ‘we must’. The average temperature increase since 2000 are now the highest since records began. The most recent evidence on climate change reveals a situation more urgent than had been expected, even by those who have been following it closely for decades,

But to keep below 20C this ‘must’ is a big ‘must’. What the science demands is collectively reducing global emissions by 80% before 2050. This means that to fulfil their obligations, the long industrialised nations, such as the UK or the US, must peak their emissions before 2017, and make a 40% reduction by 2020.

These are uncharted waters, and to expect political leaders and national delegates to be able to navigate a path to a legally binding commitment, when they have little or no idea by what technology or economic path it can be reached requires a high degree of optimism.

However, the key to removing the apprehension and so enabling forward thinking delegations and political leaders to make the right choice is to utilise detailed policy and technology scenarios to show how such a transition can be navigated, based on the skills and resources most appropriate to the country or region.

A spectrum of new ‘technology deployment scenarios’ from a diverse range of sources is being presented here at COP15. This body of work clearly demonstrates how long-industrialised countries such as Germany, France, Denmark, Great Britain and even the USA can reduce emissions to levels fully compliant with keeping below 2oC.

Scenarios such as ZeroCarbonBritain demonstrate how we can maintain high standards of well-being within a decreasing carbon budget that fully reflects the historic contribution of the long industrialised countries and the rights of majority world to sustainable development.

It would make no sense to play down the scale of the challenge. What is required is a complete overhaul of how we get and use energy and natural resources. But in a time of rising unemployment and falling social cohesion such a challenge is precisely what is needed. Many of the jobs created would be solid ones of ongoing worth as they build the infrastructure, would cultivate the skills and build the enterprises that will be in increasing international demand over the next few decades.

Through developing a common, coherent framework, technology deployment scenarios offer a process for integrating detailed knowledge and experience from a wide range of disciplines so they can be clearly and effectively articulated to endorse urgent action across all sectors of global society. Once we can clearly show the technology says ‘we can’, Copenhagen COP 15 will certainly be our best and possibly our last chance to say ‘we will’….

Technology deployment scenarios can be downloaded from:

“The authors of ZeroCarbonBritain present a timescale for action that begins now. I commend their imagination (coupled with realism), their integrated view and their sense of urgency, as an inspiration to all who are grappling with the challenge that climate change is bringing to our world.”
Sir John Houghton, Former co-chair of the IPCC
Comment by David Muir on December 3, 2009 at 17:11
Great idea about a financial incentive NOT to have a driving licence. What about unlimited free bus travel, like the over-60s but without the time restriction? This could be especially attractive to younger adults, who struggle to get affordable car insurance anyway, and it would get them into the habit of using public transport as their primary means of getting around. They will then add pressure to improve public transport to meet their needs.
Comment by Chris church on December 2, 2009 at 17:24
Comments on ZCB Transport paper

Much of this makes very good sense – a few points:

This is almost entirely focused on mobility rather than access. The need to shift local planning to have a central focus on providing access to key services rather than meeting demand for mobility should be considered here.

I would suggest the coach section needs rather more work. The issues around interchanges need some rather smarter thinking (how close to the centre of city to maximise access ease rather than automatically on the edge). The 200 coaches shuttling around London remains a poorly worked out idea. A set of decent bus hubs next to key city fringe rail stations may be a better bet.

Handing back control of local bus services to local councils (along with carbon targets) should be explored in more detail. The lack of regulation and poor integration are among the issues leading to reduced use. A national smart card is a great idea, but a much more rapid move could be made (as a first step) to introduce a ‘travelcard’ system in every major city / transport area (unlimited travel for a set fee, rather than a stored value smart card, as this encourages more modal shift). Bus companies generally oppose this – it needs regulation.

This could lead to the increased development of minibuses as ‘maxitaxis’ (as in other nations) for group travel, and also for rural services (e.g. one or two journeys a week from a village to city, with adequate space for food and with door to door drop off), for late night travel, for special events etc. Rural Transport Plans should be reviewed in the low carbon context. These services could be run by community organisations (and are in some cases)

What’s the impact of local freight (e.g. food deliveries to shops and to consumers). Does this have the potential to be reworked to cut journeys for both shops and shoppers?

Overall this is very focused on technical innovation – the social innovations needed to move beyond basic behaviour change rather more radically don’t seem to get much of a look in.

It rather assumes that driving is a given. It’s not – there are millions of adults (check figure) with no driving licence. In urban areas driving is not necessary. Incentives could be usefully given to those who choose not to have a driving licence – say 10% off council tax! to represent the diminished impact on local services.
Comment by Paul Allen on October 10, 2009 at 22:44
Dear ZCB Group,

Please find up-loaded the first of the ZCB briefing papers for your comments. Paper 1 covers the climate science - we welcome your thoughts...

Comment by Anthony Hodgson on October 9, 2009 at 15:23
Paul - Look forward to meeting you at the Carnegie resilience session on Monday. My plans for 9th December have come to fruition and there will be nearly 30 hand picked people there to attempt new interdisciplinary ground breaking on resilience. Tell you about it then.
Meanwhile I would certainly be happy to read some drafts on ZCB2.
best wishes

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