GTFS: Global Trends and Future Scenarios Index

Demand and Decarbonisation in 2050: Themes from Scenarios



In light of the emissions targets in The Climate Change Act, and reflecting the fact that the majority of UK emissions come from the production of energy, it is clear the energy sector will play a central role in the transition to a low carbon economy. In addition to the need for decarbonisation, energy must also be made secure, and affordable. These three goals are complex and often conflicting; however this paper proposes that reducing total final demand can be highly conducive to meeting all three aims of this trilemma. The paper goes on to demonstrate by means of scenario analysis that much potential exists for the UK to reduce total final energy demand, particularly in the residential and transport sectors.

A comparison of levels of final demand between twelve different scenarios, produced by four different organisations is given, followed by analysis of the finer detail of each of the scenarios. The system costs of five of the scenarios are then set out, and a number of ‘hybrid’ scenarios are produced, demonstrating that additional demand reduction measures can be supportive of reduced system cost. Finally a comparison between levels of demand in the scenarios and in DECC’s 2030 demand projections suggest that new policies must be introduced if the UK is to follow a pathway consistent with meeting the 2050 targets.

Infrastructure, Energy, Climate Change, Natural Resources
United Kingdom
Year Published:
Thomas Steward
University of Exeter, IGov