Energy strategists from the UK and China are holding a high level conference from the 18th to the 21st September 2012 in Beijing, aimed at working out how best to tackle climate change and ensure energy security, a Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) press release reports today. (Full Press Release).

China’s Energy Research Institute (ERI) and its British counterparts have been cooperating to an unprecedented degree to explore these enormously important and interrelated issues and to bring the options and the impacts of various energy options into focus.  They are adapting the UK Government’s ‘2050 Calculator’ to model choices for the Chinese economy. Such is the sheer scale of Chinese activities and so far-reaching the implications and influence that this has important significance for us all.

David Mackay, chief scientific advisor at DECC  supervised development of the 2050 Calculator in 2010 to ensure that Government short and medium term planning was consistent with achieving the long-term objective of a 20% reduction in British Carbon emissions from 1990 levels. 

Please click on the following link to view the 2050 Pathways Analysis pages for further information about the published UK 2050 Pathways Analysis. My2050  was published alongside the 2050 Calculator to aid visualisation and discussion of the options for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Ed Davey, DECC Secretary of State, said of the work, “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 colleagues.” The ERI have developed the Chinese calculator using the latest information available and will be available for use by Chinese experts and lay people to explore the options.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), with the support of the British Embassy Beijing, are jointly hosting the conference, alongside China’s Energy Research Institute (ERI), which will showcase the work to date and encourage participation from other countries. The China 2050 Calculator was supported by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office: Prosperity Fund programme , which aims to tackle climate change, strengthen energy security and promote an open global economy in key emerging economies.

DECC is now looking to extend this methodology for exploring energy scenarios to more countries. Collaboration has already begun with China, Belgium and South Korea, others are likely to be interested too. This conference is seminal.
The Chinese language version of the China 2050 Calculator
The English language version of the China 2050 Calculator  (This gives a taste of the Chinese calculator but links lead to Chinese language pages)

My own calculation efforts may or may not have made much sense in Chinese, or provided the solution that China prefers (it’s been a long day), but it has contributed to the wisdom of the crowd and the exercise certainly got me thinking about the options and makes the whole prospect of such planning seem rather less amorphous and impossible and altogether more manageable. That, I must say, is very encouraging.

Yes, there are certainly a lot of options to reduce carbon emissions and thus human contribution to climate change. Wildopeneye Blog will be exploring them in more depth in weeks to come. A really encouraging aspect of this development, and one that is likely to greatly assist humanity’s collective efforts is the economic incentive to adopt low carbon technologies. Greater efficiency produces attractive long-term cost-savings.

For now, I feel this kind of international cooperation gives cause for hope that humanity’s fantastic adaptive ability will ensure continuity of our civilization into the future. With application of new technologies, for many people, a greener future is likely to bring improvements in living standards too.

Our best wishes to all involved!