CO2 output could be halved, study shows

Cutting Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by half within 20 years is achievable, University research suggests.

Scientists say greener transport and cleaner power generation could help deliver big savings on CO2 emissions.

The researchers say the use of smart meters for homes and businesses, improved recycling, and greener building designs could make a difference.

They also recommend carbon capture and storage to reduce emissions from carbon-intensive industry and coal-fired power plants.

Low-carbon strategies

The study, carried out at the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences and Business School, focused on greenhouse gas emissions in the US.

Researchers say the findings are equally applicable to Scotland.

Scientists studied projected emissions data for the US and worked out how various low-carbon strategies could help reduce CO2 output, up to the year 2030.

The study focused on methods that would be economically, socially and politically acceptable, and that could be implemented using regulatory or economic incentives.

Biofuel challenge

In a separate study, researchers found that some biofuels may not be a sustainable source of power for vehicles.

Research shows that the greenhouse gases emitted in producing crops for fuel may outweigh the benefits brought by a biofuel’s low-carbon emissions.

The research was published in Carbon Management journal.

While it is encouraging that the US has chosen to try to reduce the emissions produced by the transport industry, the reliance on biofuels as a substitute for petrol may not be a sustainable alternative. These proposed alternative strategies may offer a more realistic, economically and politically acceptable way of reducing carbon emissions.

Dr David ReayDirector, MSc in Carbon Management