16/12/2005

'Favourable' policies can reduce carbon emissions

A report from the Carbon Trust claims that given favourable policies by 2050, carbon emissions in Northern Ireland could be reduced by 60%.

The report launched today by the Carbon Trust highlights how a low carbon economy could become a reality in Northern Ireland by 2050 through energy efficiency measures, investment in low carbon technologies and decoupling economic growth and social activity from the consumption of high carbon fuels. The in-depth study - 'Reducing our carbon footprint: an initial action plan for Northern Ireland' - looks at how to achieve a 60% cut in carbon emissions against 1990 levels by 2050.

Detailing a vision for Northern Ireland in 2050, one where energy is derived from a balanced mix of renewable sources, natural gas and oil, the report envisions an efficient and affordable public transport system is in place and there are zero emission homes, offices, factories and vehicles.

The study also examines the investment required to achieve this 60% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. Admitting that while costs are difficult to predict, the Carbon Trust estimates that if action is taken now, £775 million investment will be required over the period to 2050.

Manager of the Carbon Trust for Northern Ireland, Geoff Smyth, said: “Climate change is the most important environmental threat we face. This study lays out a vision for cutting carbon emissions and tackling climate change in Northern Ireland but it is crucial that this vision is turned into reality. Real and immediate progress towards this challenging target can be affected by businesses and public sector organisations re-thinking how they use energy and taking measures to eliminate avoidable waste."

The Carbon Trust study sets out a ten-point action plan that will stimulate a low carbon economy in Northern Ireland, which includes immediate steps and options for the future.

The group emphasise that doing nothing for the next 10 to 20 years could cost up to four times the estimated £775 million estimate.

Visit the website at www.thecarbontrust.co.uk for further information.

(SP/KMcA)

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