In the short term, we’re staring at an economic and humanitarian catastrophe, and to fix this in the few months we have we have to work with the system we have.
Low-carbon electricity output from wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and biomass rose by just 1 terawatt hour (TWh, less than 1%) in 2019. It represents the smallest annual increase in a decade, where annual growth averaged 9TWh. This growth will need to double in the 2020s to meet UK climate targets while replacing old nuclear plants as they retire.
After seven years of promoting fracking, Conservative ministers have withdrawn their support and blocked the prospects of a shale gas industry.
The UK government has issued an immediate moratorium in England because of the risk of earth tremors. Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have already issued measures that amount to moratoriums on fracking.
England recently experienced its most severe blackout in more than a decade, leading to a cacophony of calls from the usual suspects to scrap windfarms and abandon plans to turn the country’s electricity supply from brown to green.
Falling energy use and surging offshore wind are among the trends revealed in the latest round of government figures on the energy flowing through the UK.
The upshot is that government policy is offering large incentives to new nuclear, gas-fired power and also shale gas extraction – but, paradoxically, not many are actually being developed. Meanwhile the cheapest options – onshore wind, solar and offshore wind – are being discriminated against.
At a time when climate change and the renewable energy revolution are both accelerating and we’re not sure which one will win this insane high-stakes race, you would have thought the UK government would be pulling out the stops to encourage the growth of solar.
Each year at the UN climate negotiations, we UK youth bring our determination for climate justice to the discussion. We don’t come to the talks with high expectations. But this year the UK has gone above and beyond to surprise us with their lack of leadership. From advertising Barclays at their UN pavilion, to dismissing questions on crucial climate related policies such as fracking, or advocating for fossil fuel companies to be involved in the negotiations, they didn’t miss an opportunity to disappoint.
Whatever deal Brexit secretary David Davis manages to strike with the EU, it could have a negative significant impact on climate policy both on the continent and in the UK, a new report has warned. Dublin-based think tank the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) looked at four different Brexit scenarios, and found that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would likely harm the region’s overall ambition to climate change.
The issue here is about science and uncertainty. So first, What is ‘science’? It is a process for how we find, measure and then evaluate the real world in order to identify how it works. The problem is, particularly for contentious debates in the media and politics, that we seldom hear about the degree of confidence attached to scientific findings, or the uncertainties that surround them.
Quietly, and with no public discussion, the Government has been putting in place a system of licences and financial assistance to kick-start a UCG industry in Britain.
Those 24 Gboe (oil and gas) hotly debated during the independence campaign appear to be largely exagerated because half of that includes additional and yet-to-find resources the development of which is uncertain.