Energy demand reduction options for meeting national zero-emission targets in the United Kingdom

John Barrett, Steve Pye, Sam Betts-Davies, Oliver Broad, James Price, Nick Eyre, Jillian Anable, Christian Brand, George Bennett, Rachel Carr-Whitworth, Alice Garvey, Jannik Giesekam, Greg Marsden, Jonathan Norman, Tadj Oreszczyn, Paul Ruyssevelt, Kate Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)
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In recent years, global studies have attempted to understand the contribution that energy demand reduction could make to climate mitigation efforts. Here we develop a bottom-up, whole-system framework that comprehensively estimates the potential for energy demand reduction at a country level. Replicable for other countries, our framework is applied to the case of the United Kingdom where we find that reductions in energy demand of 52% by 2050 compared with 2020 levels are possible without compromising on citizens’ quality of life. This translates to annual energy demands of 40 GJ per person, compared with the current Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 116 GJ and the global average of 55 GJ. Our findings show that energy demand reduction can reduce reliance on high-risk carbon dioxide removal technologies, has moderate investment requirements and allows space for ratcheting up climate ambition. We conclude that national climate policy should increasingly develop and integrate energy demand reduction measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-735
Number of pages10
JournalNature Energy
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2022


  • climate policy
  • climate change
  • emissions reduction
  • energy demand reduction
  • carbon dioxide removal
  • CDR
  • national climate policy


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