The UK government has adopted targets that will require a 57 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The reduction will help the UK on its way to reaching the legally binding target of an 80 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, using the emissions in 1990 as a baseline. The move comes amid concerns that Brexit could affect both energy industry investors and the UK’s efforts to control climate change. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd issued assurances that the government would continue to prioritise clean energy. “Setting long-term targets to reduce our emissions is a fundamental part of building a secure, affordable and clean energy infrastructure system that our families and business can rely on, and that is fit for the 21st century,” she said. “The UK remains committed to playing its part in tackling climate change to ensure our long-term economic security and prosperity. Hugh McNeal, chief executive of industry body RenewableUK, said: “Today’s announcement is especially welcome given the uncertainty caused by last week’s referendum. It’s a clear signal the UK will continue to show bold leadership on carbon reduction. This will allow investment to continue to flow into renewable energy projects throughout the UK.”
Independent 30th June 2016 read more »
The UK agreed on Thursday to set a legally binding goal committing the country to steep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions designed to help ward off climate change. But in a sign of the uncertainties triggered by Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the move was dismissed as potentially “unlawful” by the think-tank founded by Nigel Lawson, the former Tory Chancellor and a member of the Leave campaign’s strategy committee. Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation said it was wrong for the government to set in law a fifth “carbon budget” committing the UK to cut emissions 57 per cent by 2032 from the levels of 1990. The goal was “based on the now incorrect assumption that the UK will still be in the EU by 2030”, the foundation said. It also assumed the UK would remain in the EU emissions trading scheme, the world’s largest carbon market, and be “covered by the EU’s Paris agreement terms”, it said. The EU has collectively agreed to cut emissions 40 per cent by 2030 as part of its commitment to the Paris climate change accord agreed in December.
FT 30th June 2016 read more »
Lawrence, Sovacool & Stirling. Since its initial adoption, the EU’s 2020 Strategy – to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, increase the share of renewable energy to at least 20% of consumption, and achieve energy savings of 20% or more by 2020 – has witnessed substantial albeit uneven progress. This article addresses the question of what role nuclear power generation has played, and can or should play in future, towards attaining the EU 2020 Strategy, particularly with reference to decreasing emissions and increasing renewables. It also explores the persistent diversity in energy strategies among member states. To do so, it first surveys the current landscape of nuclear energy use and then presents the interrelated concepts of path dependency, momentum, and lock-in. The article proceeds to examine five factors that help explain national nuclear divergence: technological capacity and consumption; economic cost; security and materiality; national perceptions; and political, ideological and institutional factors. This divergence reveals a more general weakness in the 2020 Strategy’s underlying assumptions. Although energy security – defined as energy availability, reliability, affordability, and sustainability – remains a vital concern for all member states, the 2020 Strategy does not explicitly address questions of political participation, control, and power. The inverse relationship identified here – between intensity of nuclear commitments, and emissions mitigation and uptake of renewable sources – underscores the importance of increasing citizens’ levels of energy policy awareness and participation in policy design.
Climate Policy 1st July 2016 read more »
In November 2015, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advised Government to set the fifth carbon budget to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 57% relative to 1990 levels. Today, the Government has accepted that advice. The Committee welcomes the clear signal this sends about UK ambition to continue reducing emissions into the 2030s across the economy, including from power, transport and buildings. This is particularly important given the uncertainty following the recent vote to leave the EU. The announcement shows that the UK remains committed to its climate targets and is open for low-carbon business. The Committee has also laid its annual progress report before Parliament today. That report emphasised the need to now bring forward policies and proposals that will achieve the levels of reduction set out in the fifth carbon budget. The Government has recognised that new policies are required and has committed to set out how it will strengthen efforts to meet the carbon budgets by the end of the year.
Climate Change Committee 30th June 2016 read more »
The list of main setbacks for the global energy transition in June includes a potentially big one: Brexit. But when you view that vote in the light of the month’s long list of main advances, and the other such long lists for January through May 2016, plus the three years before, dots join to tell a story. If the British are collectively ill advised enough to go ahead with their exit from the EU, they risk creating an isolated island that will be a stark outlier on an increasingly clear and positive direction of travel in the rest of the world.
Jeremy Leggett 1st July 2016 read more »