UK Policy

Quote from RCEP, Energy - The Changing Climate
"48. Energy policies of the kind we are seeking will not emerge unless there is a thoroughgoing change of approach and change of culture within government. Some aspects of present energy policies are in conflict with the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and current policies aimed at reducing emissions seem likely to fall short of the goal of reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by 20% between 1990 and 2010. The government’s current arrangements for making and implementing energy and environment policy are inadequate for the task which lies ahead."

The UK progress is show below, chart taken from Energy Review 2006

Approximately half the UK CO2 reduction comes from the 'dash for gas'. If the gas we are using now for electricity generation were reverted to coal the total UK CO2 emmissions would only be 7% below 1990 levels. The figure below, taken from DTI DUKES-2006 shows the virtually zero gas use for power generation in 1990. The switch to gas for power is the most significant contribution to acheivement of UK CO2 reduction. See Domestic Energy Consumption for the current UK energy flow.

If we were to take the 'dash for gas' out of the equation then the UKs CO2 reduction in the 15 years from 1990 is only 7%. The target is 60% reduction by 2050 ref-RCEP. On a linear basis we should have achieved a %15 reduction by now, and taking the Pareto 80:20 princple we should have achieved a 48% reduction (80% of 60%) in 20% of the time - now elapsed. So we have probably done the easy bit and the next steps will increasingly difficult. Also if the target is 60% reduction by 2050 then on a linear basis shouldn't the target for 2020 be a reduction of 30% - not the 20% we are doubtful of achieving?

What has UK Policy delivered so far?

We have a renewable power obligation for electricity generation. UK average renewable electricity is 3.8% (or 1.3% CO2 reduction)(see electricityinfo.org). Biofuels have been encouraged through duty relief (40p/litre) and has delivered biofuels at just 0.2% (2005), or around 0.05% CO2 reduction!

So these policies have delivered just 1.35% CO2 reduction. It is a good job we had the 'dash for gas' to deliver some real reductions. So what are we going to do now?

Energy review

Please read the DTI Energy Review 2006 and study the recommendations and ask "is this policy going to take us where we must go? - or is it window dressing and procrastination?"

It also seems that low carbon energy is/will be more expensive. See Solutions. Any country that leads in low carbon energy will penalise its international competitiveness. Hence the need for agreement of all the countries in the world to act together to ensure fairness in acheiveing the reduction required. This surely must be the greatest challenge for the human race - to collaborate globally to achieve a very difficult goal. How many people have to die before we all wake up to what has to be done? This train already has a great head of steam, is moving fast and rapidly going faster. See CO2 Balance.

The UK energy policy considering the 'Energy Poor' seems out of place and should be tackled via povery reduction not cheap energy.

The cost of energy has to rise, and rise significantly to pursuade us to use it responsibly, and create the environment for renewable options to become viable.

What price would energy go to if we were to ramp down global oil/gas/coal extraction to 40% of current levels over say a 20 year period? This is the sort of policy we need - and need on a global basis.


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