CLIMATE CHANGE ACT ANNIVERSARY
This is the fourth anniversary of the UK Climate Change Act, which became law on 26th November 2008, the first provision of the which is that It is the duty of the Secretary of State to ensure that the net UK carbon account for the year 2050 is at least 80% lower than the 1990 baseline.
In the intervening years carbon emissions in the upper atmosphere, in the Northern hemisphere, have exceeded 400 parts per million, well beyond the 350 ppm deemed to be the safe limit.
The Energy Bill 2012, which should have set new targets for emissions reduction, has instead invoked continued dependence on fossil fuels in the form of gas, with no proposals for reduced energy demand.
This will leave the country at the mercy of foreign gas suppliers and the inevitable escalation in the price caused by increasing demand for a dwindling resource.
No mention is made in the Bill of energy conservation or energy storage, both essential to reduce demand to levels cost effectively sustainable by alternative energy resources.
Whilst the use of gas may achieve an emissions reduction where it replaces oil and coal, the reductions in demand through conservation could exceed that permanently – reducing both demand and increasing security of supply from free ambient energy – and thereby ensuring energy security and yielding permanent reductions in energy costs.
The Energy Bill is a short term sticking plaster and will never heal the wound.
By 2020 it may achieve emission reductions in line with the Climate Change Act, but will leave all the essential expenditure on conservation and alternative energy for another day – when both the scale and the costs will have escalated, possibly to the point where the task is insurmountable.
Leaving the setting of a new budget in emissions beyond the next election is an economic ploy to pass the huge costs of extensive energy conservation and alternative energy on to future generations - and the next Secretary of State may well be faced with an impossible task.
In view of this is this Energy Bill in accordance with the requirements of the Act?