Achieving net zero: one policy at a time

Case study

The challenge

To provide concrete information regarding the UK’s carbon footprint, which will influence and direct energy and climate policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

The solution

Professor John Barrett’s novel method of analysis is the first to take into account the carbon footprint of the entire supply chain, including materials produced overseas but consumed in the UK. Barrett’s work revealed that the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions had fallen by 13% between 1990 and 2016, instead of the reported 40%. This understanding of more complete emissions figures led to policy changes to help the UK achieve its target of net zero emissions by 2050. Barrett and his team work with government bodies in an advisory capacity to help them implement policies that will meet the net zero emissions goal.  

The impact

Barrett’s research delivered transformative change for long-term goals, and his team was contracted to work alongside government for five years to measure the UK’s carbon footprint. This research made the UK the first country in the world to officially calculate its imported greenhouse gas emissions. It brought real-world improvements to climate and energy policy in the UK by changing how we measure our emissions. Their assessment has directly informed the UK government’s Resources and Waste Strategy. Understanding the true picture of our current emissions is the first step towards mitigating our global impact, reducing emissions to net zero by 2050 and protecting our planet.