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World can cut carbon emissions without giving up luxuries
Published:  28 January, 2015

Cutting carbon emissions to limit global temperatures to a 2°C rise can be achieved while improving living standards, a new online tool shows.

The world can eat well, travel more, live in more comfortable homes, and meet international carbon reduction commitments according to the Global Calculator tool, a project led by the UK’s Department of Energy & Climate Change and co-funded by Climate-KIC.

Built in collaboration with a number of international organisations from US, China, India and Europe, the calculator is an interactive tool for businesses, NGOs and governments to consider the options for cutting carbon emissions and the trade-offs for energy and land use to 2050.

Energy & Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “For the first time this Global Calculator shows that everyone in the world can prosper while limiting global temperature rises to 2°C, preventing the most serious impacts of climate change.

“Yet the calculator is also very clear that we must act now to change how we use and generate energy and how we use our land if we are going to achieve this green growth.

Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd said: “This Global Calculator is unique for three reasons. It has been built in collaboration with a range of international organisations - from China to India and the US. It is open, with its data fully available to the public, and it is also simple enough for everyone to use.”

Dr Mike Cherrett, director of operations and international partnerships at Climate-KIC, said: “The calculator clearly highlights that we can meet our 2°C target while maintaining good lifestyles – but we need to set ambitious targets on all fronts and use innovation to address climate change.

“The challenge to find new commercially-viable business models is considerable – but for those organisations who succeed, the reward is even greater. The calculator provides a framework for policy makers and business leaders to create an environment where this is possible.”

Using data reviewed by over 150 international experts, this free and interactive tool shows that despite expectations that the world’s population will rise from 7 billion currently to 10 billion by 2050, it is physically possible for everyone to have a good standard of living while limiting global temperature rises to 2°C.

However, the tool shows that to be successful the world needs to act now and transform the technologies and fuels we use and make smarter use of our land for food, forestry and fuel.

For example the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of electricity globally would need to fall by at least 90% and our forests protected and expanded by 5-15% by 2050.