Following the election of a Tory government in 2015, the UK has quietly dropped any pretence that it will meet 2020 EU climate targets. However, the government still maintains the fiction that it can achieve its Climate Change Act target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.
A new report by National Grid pours doubt on these claims, however. According to National Grid, government policy on renewable energy is at odds with its self-imposed targets.
The National Grid report, which is the outcome of a broad consultation exercise, looks at four possible scenarios for the development of UK policy:
- Gone Green – in which there is widespread support and large amounts of funding available for a green energy transition
- Slow Progression – in which support remains strong but less funding is available
- Consumer Power – in which these is funding available but less political support for transition
- No Progression – in which neither the political will nor the funding is in place and we attempt to maintain business as usual.
Given the current government’s bonfire of subsidies (that effectively cut of the renewable energy industry at the knees just as it was beginning to stand up on its own) and given their insane drive to extract every last hydrocarbon atom from beneath UK territory, something worse than National Grid’s No Progression scenario awaits us. However, according to National Grid, even if the government immediately and enthusiastically adopted the Gone Green scenario, we would still be too late to meet the 2050 targets.