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The (Taxpayer funded) Tyndall Centre Want Us To Reduce Energy Consumption By 60% In Next 10 Years

June 29, 2013

By Paul Homewood


Tyndall°Centre for Climate Change Research ®



For those who don’t know, according to Wikipedia,


The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research is an organisation based in the United Kingdom that brings together scientists, economists, engineers and social scientists to ‘research, assess and communicate from a distinct trans-disciplinary perspective, the options to mitigate, and the necessities to adapt to current climate change and continuing global Warming, and to integrate these into the global, UK and local contexts of sustainable development‘.

From 2000 until 2010, core funding was provided by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Tyndall Centre in the UK is now primarily funded by the host universities and by research grants.


In other words they are funded by UK taxpayers. But despite this, they don’t seem keen to act with the UK’s interest at heart. For instance, they have been consistently opposed to development of huge shale gas deposits in the UK, not because of genuine environmental concerns, but becauselarge scale extraction of shale gas cannot be reconciled with the climate change commitments enshrined in the Copenhagen Accord (2009)”.

We, perhaps, therefore ought to be concerned that they are holding a conference in December called “The Radical Emission Reduction Conference”. They offer the background to the conference.


The Climate Change Context

With large-scale impacts of climate change becoming discernable from the background of natural variability, so concern is rising over the global community’s failure to control emissions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) captures this pivotal moment in history, when noting that "The current state of affairs is unacceptable … energy-related CO2 emissions are at historic highs”[i] and emission trends are “perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius, which would have devastating consequences for the planet”[ii]. In similar vein PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC)[iii], the UK Government chief scientist[iv] and a growing body of academics and researchers are allying current emission trends with 4°C to 6°C futures. [I am not sure what relevance PWC – a bunch of accountants have in this discussion].

Why Radical Mitigation (i.e. emission reductions)?

Today, in 2013, we face an unavoidably radical future. We either continue with rising emissions and reap the radical repercussions of severe climate change, or we acknowledge that we have a choice and pursue radical emission reductions: No longer is there a non-radical option. Moreover, low-carbon supply technologies cannot deliver the necessary rate of emission reductions – they need to be complemented with rapid, deep and early reductions in energy consumption – the rationale for this conference.

Please read this bit again carefully:-

“Moreover, low-carbon supply technologies cannot deliver the necessary rate of emission reductions – they need to be complemented with rapid, deep and early reductions in energy consumption – the rationale for this conference.”



Sorry if I am rubbing this in, but this needs reemphasising. Many of us have been warning for years that the current energy policies in the UK just don’t add up. Renewables simply are not capable of providing reliable energy in sufficient quantities, never mind cost, to keep households and the economy working.

It now appears that the Tyndall Centre are perfectly aware of this fact, and admit that the only way we can achieve our emission targets is to massively reduce energy consumption. And just how much must we cut by? The answer lies in their section, “Details of the Conference”.


While there is a wealth of research and experience in delivering incremental reductions in demand, there is little cogent analysis of non-marginal, step-change and systemic reductions – either from a research or from a practitioner perspective. This conference is intended to catalyse such a critical transition in the climate change agenda and provide an evidence-base for developing radical-mitigation strategies.

More specifically the two-day conference, hosted at the Royal Society (London), will consider how to deliver reductions in energy consumption of at least 8% per year (~60% across a decade). It will foster an up-beat and can-do mentality. Obstacles, barriers and hurdles need to be considered, as do practical attempts that have failed to deliver. But lessons need to be learned; translating failure into programmes of successful mitigation is paramount not just to the framing of this event, but more importantly in tackling the very real challenges of climate change.



Yes, 60% in a decade! I stand to be persuaded otherwise, but I cannot see any way how this can be achieved without fundamental societal change and deindustrialisation. And bear in mind that the Tyndall Centre are addressing this as very much an international problem. Are they seriously expecting third world countries to forego any hope of improving their standards of life?

The conference will not be held until December, so we will have to wait and see what they come up with. In the meantime, we are entitled to ask whether our governments know that their low carbon energy strategies will not work.

  1. John F. Hultquist permalink
    June 29, 2013 2:20 pm

    The authors of this document should put their initials beside each point. One might think that having written such wondrous statements getting proper credit would be desirable.

    There are the odd parts:

    “trans-disciplinary” – – What happened to “multi”? Maybe that’s a British thing.

    Then there is the capital “W” of “global Warming” – –

    and this,

    “. . . foster an up-beat and can-do mentality . . .”

    Then there are the wrong parts:

    “. . . large-scale impacts of climate change becoming discernable from the background of natural variability . . .”

    And …

    “. . . emission trends are “perfectly in line with a temperature increase of 6 degrees Celsius . . .”
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    My suggestion is to have an arts council, or some such, sponsor “trans”-artists to depict the look and feel of England with a ~60% reduction in energy use in 2023. A large stone sculpture of a giant “0” (zero) is appropriate – that being the nearest whole number to the change in average temperature to result from this radical idea.

  2. Joe Public permalink
    June 29, 2013 2:40 pm

    When hypocritical organisations such as this use anything other than 100% renewables, I’ll consider changing my ways.

    • Brian H permalink
      June 29, 2013 6:21 pm

      Confused comment, as usual, that says the opposite of what you probably intended.

      • Joe Public permalink
        June 30, 2013 12:19 am

        Please explain

  3. June 29, 2013 5:29 pm

    Are they really talking about a 60% reduction in energy consumption globally or only in the UK?
    Even if it were globally, I suspect that there would be an expectation that the consumption of developing countries would be allowed to rise, which would mean that the developed countries would have to reduce even further. If so, do the developing countries include China?
    They may argue that aiming for a 60% reduction is simply a target, designed to stimulate the production of radical ideas, but they surely must realise that such a reduction would be disastrous for the economy and would be unacceptable to most politicians, since it would probably result in mass revolution?
    I wonder if the December conference will be held in public or in private.

  4. mitigatedsceptic permalink
    June 29, 2013 6:16 pm

    Britain must lead the world back into the Dark Ages.

  5. Brian H permalink
    June 29, 2013 6:25 pm

    Commitments? ” enshrined in the Copenhagen Accord (2009)”?? Since the Copenhagen Confab crashed and burned with nothing signed, enshrined is more like buried and discredited.

    The Tyndall Center is a non-stop abomination, and has been for years.

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