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  • Leighton-Linslade and the new energy landscape

    What are the green credentials of South Bedfordshire? I’ve been spurred into researching this question and to compare how that fits with national requirements, because of a new wind turbine application happening near Leighton-Linslade. The town has been formed and built its personality about substantial national infrastructure - Watling St; the Grand Union Canal; the West Coast Main Line Railway. Personally I see that we have an opportunity to help tackle the next infrastructure change and to lead on the realisation of Britain’s future energy landscape.

    Global and National Commitments

    In December, 195 nations negotiated the Paris Agreement as part of the U.N. framework convention on climate change. They agreed to peak “greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, […], so as to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”. This legalese means that within a child’s lifetime any emissions across the globe will not be allowed without a mechanism to suck that much carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Each country volunteered its own national contribution towards this goal.

    The U.K. has gone further towards emissions reductions than most countries. Our Climate Change Act makes it a legal requirement to reduce national emissions by 2050 by least 80% of their 1990 levels. The fifth carbon budget (for 2038-2032) to take us towards this target has recently been set at 1,725 MtCO2e - roughly 5 MtCO2e per person per year (Fig. \ref{fig:co2e}).

    A comparison between per capita CO2e emissions implied for 2030 by the fifth carbon budget and for 2014 (the most recent year with full data available). The areas of pie charts represent the relative reductions. I have chosen to present per capita emissions to provide a focus on our individual contribution. Created using information from scenarios by the Committee on Climate Change, specifically their figures 1.1, 1.4 and 1.7. Underlying data and calculations attached above. \label{fig:co2e}