Skip Content


Friends of the Earth launch Carbon Descent report

14 January 2010

Friends of the Earth launch Carbon Descent report for local authorities 'Pathways to 40%' illustrating how councils can reduce their CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020.

Carbon Descent has been commissioned by Friends of the Earth to deliver evidence based scenarios for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 40% (relative to 2006 emissions) by 2020 across a representative variety of local authorities and regions across England. The aim of this work is to show that it is credible for a Local Authority to set itself this target and to establish what additional national measures would be required to enable this level of emissions cuts. A detailed action plan that each LA could follow to achieve a 40% cut would be a vast undertaking so this research is only intended to map out in broad terms how it might be done, using three LAs of different types as illustrations. The reduction scenarios concentrate on three broad policy areas; transport, energy and the domestic sector.Reduction scenarios were modelled using Carbon Descent’s in-house software tool, VantagePoint.

Carbon reduction scenarios have been modelled for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, the unitary authority of Middlesbrough and the county of Hampshire (excluding Southampton and Portsmouth). Carbon reduction measures relating to the three sectors of housing, decentralised energy supply and transport have been modelled as separate scenarios and then combined to form a scenario covering the whole energy system at the local level.

Large renewable energy installations are not included in the main scenarios as the CO2 savings they produce are not attributable at a local level under the current NI 186 regime, but indicative emissions savings have been provided to illustrate the importance of local planning decisions in contributing to national emissions reduction. The modelling shows that it is possible for each area included in the study to reach the 40% reduction target by 2020. Significant measures are needed on the part of each authority across the three identified policy areas. The modelling assumes a rapid rate of decrease in the grid factor to 2020. This is due in part to the implementation of large-scale renewables, which eventually cover 38% of the national demand in 2020. Without this decarbonisation of the grid the 40% targets would be much more difficult to reach, and as such the encouragement of large scale renewables in each local authority is imperative if the targets are to be reached.

The report is available from Friends of the Earth here. 

< Back

"The audits and the final reports from Carbon Descent were spot on and have given businesses a real road map to follow if they want to reduce their energy consumption over the next year."

Ben Stephenson, South Bank Employers Group