Uk/China Low Energy Co-Operation
The Parliamentary Information Office reported in 2010 on the building of the 2050
Pathway Calculator and has been flowing closely its adaptation for use in other countries
Unprecedented collaboration between energy strategists from the UK and China will culminate
today in the start of a high level conference, 18-21st September in Beijing, aimed at
understanding how best to tackle climate change and ensure energy security.
China’s Energy Research Institute (ERI) has been working with its British counterparts to adapt
the UK Government’s ‘2050 Calculator’ to their own economy. The online tool, which will be
available to the public, exposes the risks and trade-offs associated with different future energy
scenarios. For example: what balance could be struck between energy efficiency and building
new power supply? What is the role for new nuclear? Which technologies will be adopted?
The UK is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050,
relative to 1990 levels. We need a transformation of the UK economy while ensuring secure, low
carbon energy supplies to 2050, and face major choices about how to do this. In 2010, the
Department for Energy and Climate Change built the 2050 Calculator to help the public engage
in the debate and for Government to ensure its short- and medium-term planning was consistent
with achieving the long-term aim. In the Carbon Plan published in December 2011, the
Calculator was used to illustrate three 2050 futures that show some of the plausible routes
towards meeting the target
The 2050 Pathways work presents a framework through which to consider some of the choices
and trade-offs we will have to make over the next forty years. It is system-wide, covering all
parts of the economy and all greenhouse gases emissions released in the UK. It is rooted in
scientific and engineering realities, looking at what is thought to be physically and technically
possible in each sector.
The Department for Energy and Climate Change is working with the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office, and the Department for International Development to engage with
experts from other countries in developing 2050 Calculators.
The 2050 Calculator can be readily adapted for use by other countries: China, Belgium and
South Korea have already tailored the Calculator for their own use.
Following dialogue between the UK and the Chinese Government, the Chinese Energy
Research Institute decided to build their own China 2050 Calculator, to be published at the 2050
Energy and Emissions Pathways Conference.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,
with the support of the British Embassy Beijing, are to jointly host the conference, alongside
China’s Energy Research Institute (ERI), which will showcase the work to date and look to
further countries taking part.
Ed Davey, DECC Secretary of State, said:
“The 2050 Calculator is a ground-breaking tool to help countries better plan their future energy
strategy, in a transparent and evidence-based way. We welcome the work of our Chinese
Using the latest and most detailed data available, ERI have created a tool that allows the user to
select how China will achieve its energy security up to 2050. The tool covers the entire energy
sector, and will be open to experts and ordinary people alike, to model how different energy
decisions will affect the whole country.
The UK’s 2050 Calculator, the first of its kind created, provides a comprehensive analysis of
pathways to a secure, low carbon energy system in the UK to 2050.
An online user-friendly web application, My2050, is also available in the UK, which allows the
public to develop their own energy scenarios out to 2050.
DECC Director of Strategy, Ravi Gurumurthy said:
“We are collaborating with China and other countries in building a wider base for this innovative
and practical analysis, and I would like to invite other interested countries to join us in enriching
this collaboration further.”
Together, the UK and China will engage with other developing and developed countries at the
Conference to promote the use of this modelling methodology.
The Parliamentary Yearbook will continue to report on environmental issues and their impact on
the UK as we go through the months ahead.
18th September 2012