Knowledge for better food systems

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)

The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) published its report 'zerocarbonbritain' in July 2007. This report sets out a blueprint for how Britain could reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2027.
The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) published its report 'zerocarbonbritain' in July 2007. This report sets out a blueprint for how Britain could reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2027. The report begins by defining the overall contextual issues: a changing climate, fossil fuel depletion and the need for equitable global development. zerocarbonbritain begins by defining the overall contextual issues: a changing climate, fossil fuel depletion and the need for equitable global development. It then highlights and explains its three key framing principles for tackling the challenge of achieving a zero carbon Britain: those of contraction and convergence (see page 14 of report for a definition), tradeable energy quotas and a different approach to valuing energy.The report adopts the assumption that UK needs to be 100% self-sufficient in energy supply. It then goes on to look at how energy use might be reduced in buildings, transport, industry, ICT and agriculture, concluding that this could be reduced by 50%. As regards food, the report sees these to be the key elements:
  • A higher level of national self-sufficiency in food.
  • Relative re-localisation of production within Britain.
  • Greatly reduced numbers of livestock and land dedicated to feeding them.
  • Substantial shifts in the composition of diets.
  • A move towards low-input farming methods.
  • On-farm fuel production for farm use.
  • Expansion of forests for fuel wood, industrial products, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
  • More land used for dedicated biofuel crops and co-products.
  • Carbon sequestration credits for various agricultural practices, both traditional and innovative.
  • After considering energy reduction, the report considers energy supply: it assesses the role of nuclear power and renewables in achieving a zero carbon Britain before looking at demand management and the need for balancing and integrating the different fuel sources to ensure consistency of supply. The report has been praised by Sir John Houghton, former Co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Director General of the UK Met Office. He says: 'The authors of zerocarbonbritain present a time-scale 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.'
 

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