Burning fossil fuels for energy is the major source of carbon dioxide, which is the most important greenhouse gas (GHG) responsible for warming the climate. Decarbonising the energy system to emit almost no GHGs is vital for reducing the extent of global climate change. This process is known ‘the energy transition’.
Three key factors contribute to energy-related GHG emissions, each of which needs to be continually tracked and analysed, along with planning for how it can be reduced (where possible): the carbon content of energy; the efficiency of energy use (e.g. the miles per gallon of the cars we use; how much heat our homes leak to the outside); and the quantity of ‘energy services’ we demand (e.g. the number of miles we drive; how hot we keep our homes)
This short article, part of the UCL Bartlett’s Together for climate action campaign, briefly describes the energy transition process, its main characteristics and possible solutions, with special focus on the UK.