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Crunching the numbers on climate change

National legislation on climate change around the world is tightening as governments seek to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement but without damaging economic growth.

Project 2050 Carbon Calculator

ClientDepartment for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS)

ExpertiseTechnical and capacity building support, funding allocation, communication and community engagement

Since 2011, we have been working with the UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to develop the 2050 Carbon Calculator, an open-source, transparent and interactive tool that enables users – from school children and the general public to stakeholders and policymakers – to test energy and emissions reduction pathways and assess the impact of various choices and trade-offs using scientific data. It is increasingly popular. It has been ingeniously adapted to serve local needs and is being used by governments to ensure planning is consistent with achieving net zero emissions by 2050. So far, more than 30 countries have developed calculators. We are now working on a three-year, £3M programme, assisting these countries to update their calculators and five more to develop their own.

The calculator is being used as an educational tool for school children in many countries. In Belgium, climate coaches use the country’s My2050 webtool in secondary schools, with more than 13,500 students since 2017 discovering how best to create a low carbon society by 2050. A version of the calculator is used in South Africa as part of the Fundisa for Change programme, which aims to strengthen environmental literacy among school students.


countries supported to upgrade or develop new 2050 Calculators

Cities consume more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for at least 70% of global CO2 emissions. The calculator is a particularly useful to test measures to reduce emissions and ensure they do not adversely affect people’s quality of life. It can be used by local and state authorities to visualise the short-, medium- and long-term impacts of changing regulation and investment decisions.

The calculator provides real-time insights into how various trade-offs affect different sectors of the economy and keep track of overall emissions. It can be used by politicians to set realistic mitigation targets and investors to ensure they finance only the cleanest technologies and projects.

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