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Can we really do that?

Gordon Brown introduced the possibility in the Climate Change Bill of raising the target for cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (NCE 22 November).
A simple calculation tells us that, even if we start now, that implies a steady reduction of 3.7% per year (compound, don't forget) for the next 43 years; reducing by "only" 60% implies 2.1% per year.

Can we really do that – especially with the population forecast to grow by perhaps a third over the same period?

At first sight the national economy seems likely to suffer. Will members of the public go along with that? Of course they will – as soon as we engineers explain to them that some energy-saving technology (e.g. draught-controlling passive house ventilation) can save them money as well as enhancing the environment.

Now is our chance to take the lead and achieve that respected high profile we have long sought.


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