Bridging the Gap Between Today and the Zero Carbon Britain of the Future


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Next week, on the 16th July, the Centre for Alternative Technology will be launching its third Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB) report. Since the last ZCB report was published in 2010, the economic situation has worsened, international negotiations on climate change have stalled, and yet the evidence from the climate science is more pressing than ever.

The new report – Zero Carbon Britain: Rethinking the Future, gives us the detailed research needed to fully answer some of the key questions that arose in response to the previous 2010 report. What ZCB proposes is a major transformation of the UK’s energy and land systems; after a year’s dedicated research it has been shown that by integrating a smart approach to food production, diet, buildings, transport, energy and land-use, the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to net zero; using only currently available technology and without significant impacts on quality of life.

One of the issues ZCB addresses is the ‘physics-politics gap’. The report notes that “physical problems have physical solutions […] However, if we analyse these physical requirements and work out a physically credible plan based on our scientific knowledge of the situation, we find it does not fit comfortably into the frame of normal politics and economics. On the other hand, if we work out a plan that does fit the politics, we find it does not meet the physical requirements. In fact, a huge gulf between what is physically demanded by science and what is seen as politically possible is revealed.

Zero Carbon Britain […] sets out a physically realistic scenario – laying foundations on the ‘right’ side of the physics-politics gap.”

The Physics-Politics Gap

The report will be launched on the 16th July. It will be available to buy through the CAT shop and it will also be free to download from the ZCB site. For more updates follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook.