World news story

World can cut carbon emissions and live well

Cutting carbon emissions to limit global temperatures to 2°C rise can be achieved while improving living standards, a new online tool shows.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The world can eat well, travel more, live in more comfortable homes, and meet international carbon reduction commitments according to the Global Calculator tool, a project launched today in London by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and co-funded by Climate-Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC).

Built in collaboration with a number of international organisations from US, China, India and Europe, the calculator is an interactive tool for businesses, NGOs and governments to consider the options for cutting carbon emissions and the trade-offs for energy and land use to 2050.

UK’s Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Davey said:

For the first time this Global Calculator shows that everyone in the world can prosper while limiting global temperature rises to 2°C, preventing the most serious impacts of climate change.

Yet the calculator is also very clear that we must act now to change how we use and generate energy and how we use our land if we are going to achieve this green growth.

The UK is leading on climate change both at home and abroad. Britain’s Global Calculator can help the world’s crucial climate debate this year. Along with the many country-based 2050 calculators we pioneered, we are working hard to demonstrate to the global family that climate action benefits people.

British High Commissioner to India Sir James Bevan KCMG said:

The Global Calculator shows that with the right choices climate action is compatible with economic growth. This is a great tool which will allow business, policy makers, and civil society to explore ways to meet their energy demands while staying within the 2°C limit.

Using data reviewed by over 150 international experts, this free and interactive tool shows that despite expectations that the world’s population will rise from 7 billion currently to 10 billion by 2050, it is physically possible for everyone to have a good standard of living while limiting global temperature rises to 2°C.

However, the tool shows that to be successful the world needs to act now and transform the technologies and fuels we use and make smarter use of our land for food, forestry and fuel.

For example the amount of CO2 emitted per unit of electricity globally would need to fall by at least 90% and our forests protected and expanded by 5-15% by 2050.

Further information:

The Global Calculator has a limited geographical detail and does not report on technologies to be rolled out in countries. It is not made to specify how consumption should be distributed by country. However, some of these country specific questions are answered by using respective country calculators, e.g. for India you can use IESS 2047 (India Energy Security Scenarios) model housed within the Niti Aayog, which was developed in partnership with the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change.


In 2010, DECC published the ‘UK 2050 Calculator’, a simple and transparent online tool that allows anyone to explore all the potential energy futures for the UK to 2050, and the impacts on energy security, costs, land use, air quality and emissions. This tool was used to explore and communicate the options for the UK’s energy system to 2050, within the UK government’s 2011 ‘Carbon Plan’.

The UK calculator has also proved useful outside government. For example, organisations such as Friends of the Earth and the National Grid have used it to better understand the choices and trade-offs facing the UK.

The tool has been so successful that even other countries have adopted the approach themselves, some with DECC’s support using International Climate Fund finance. There are now around 20 governments, including India, who have developed or are developing their own country-level calculator.

The country-level calculator tools are very useful, however they cannot tell us what actions add up at a global level, and the risks we face if we do not take action to reduce global emissions. This is why DECC, with joint funding from Climate KIC, has led a range of global partners to build a global version.


Climate-KIC is the Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on mitigating and adapting to climate change. It consists of companies, academic institutions and the public sector.

The organisation has its headquarters in London, UK, and leverages its centres across Europe to support start-up companies, to bring together partners on innovation projects and to educate students to bring about a connected, creative transformation of knowledge and ideas into products and services that help mitigate and adapt to climate change.


The Global Calculator was built by the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, Climate-KIC, the International Energy Agency, the Energy Research Institute (China), the World Resources Institute, Ernst & Young, Imperial College London, London School of Economics, Potsdam Institute, Climact, Climate Media Factory, Rothamsted Research, Walker Institute, the UK National Environment Research Council, the UK National Oceanography Centre, the UK Met Office and Universite de Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines. In addition, over 150 experts from around the world were consulted during the course of building the model.

For more information please contact:

Stuart Adam, Head,
Press and Communications
British High Commission, Chanakyapuri
New Delhi 110021
Tel: 44192100; Fax: 24192411

Mail to: Kitty Tawakley

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Published 28 January 2015