UK Must Stop Increasing Support for Gas Power to Meet Targets

Top environmental advisors have declared this week that the UK must stop it’s dash for gas. The Committee on Climate Change demands more of a shift to low-carbon power sources in order to meet emissions targets.

 

David Kennedy, who is the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, said the following as a warning to ministers:

 

“[Ministers] must rule out the dash for gas, and set clear carbon objectives in the context of draft energy legislation and the forthcoming gas generation strategy. Our analysis shows that power sector decarbonisation is economically sensible, even in a shale gas world.”

 

The statutory body advising ministers on the precise impact that policies made will have concluded that whilst the UK managed to decrease its amount of carbon emissions by an impressive 7% in 2011 compared to 2010, only 0.8% of this was due to changes made in policy. Indeed, the remainder was made up of two factors:

  1. The UK experienced an uncharacteristically-mild winter, reducing people’s need to heat their homes and cutting energy use
  2. Poor economic conditions meant that people could not afford to use as much fuel, thus emissions were lower

 

The reason for concern over the backing of a large construction programme for gas-fired power plants is that the resulting energy production will displace energy coming from low-carbon sources – instead of using power from solar, wind, geothermal or other sources, the UK will increase its reliance on non-renewable, environmentally dangerous solutions.

 

Friends of the Earth’s Donna Hume, said:

 

“The government must listen to its independent adviser and commit in its new Energy Bill to delivering a fossil fuel-free electricity system by 2030. Ministers must abandon their reckless dash for gas to stop investor confidence in clean British energy from our wind, waves and sun from nose diving. Our addiction to increasingly expensive gas has left families struggling with sky-high energy bills – investing in renewable power and cutting waste will  create thousands of new jobs and give us electricity we can all afford.”

 

Indeed, the reasoning for the support of gas-fired stations is that it will help reduce energy bills for cash-strapped homeowners. However, as we are all aware, it is much cheaper to reduce climate change now, than it is to combat a much larger problem in the future if politicians get lazy and start introducing measures such as these. Whilst politicans are renowned for picking short-term wins over long-term gains, hopefully voters will raise concerns over this issue and take long-term views to encourage ministers to listen!

 

Written by James Hawkins from TalkSolarPanels.co.uk – a UK solar power prices comparison company, providing free quotes anywhere in the UK.

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Graduated with an economics degree 2 years ago, since then I've been writing about renewable energy and solar panels in particular, working for a solar quote company that operates nationally in the UK.

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