Last week, on Radio 4’s Today programme, I was asked to critique the well known and controversial environmental commentator, Bjørn Lomborg. According to his theory, we should all do as Japan has recently done, and give up on greenhouse gas reduction targets and, instead, invest heavily in low carbon R&D. Doing so would be much cheaper, he argues, and would have a greater global impact as it would make low carbon technology so affordable it would naturally displace fossil fuel alternatives. Read more
In reaction to the European Commission’s green paper on options for the 2030 climate and energy policy framework last March, Europe’s largest trade association, Business Europe, suggested European manufacturing was being left behind. It stated, “Europe’s major competitors, the US and China are reindustrialising on the back of low energy costs. Meanwhile the current EU energy and climate policy is driving up costs through inconsistencies in EU policies as well as uncoordinated and heavy-handed national government intervention in energy markets.” Read more
Around 100 representatives from across the energy policy field joined Ed Davey, at a Green Alliance debate on Monday, to discuss the final stages of the somewhat tortuous process of reforming the UK’s electricity sector. The main question asked was whether the process, now going into its third year, will actually result in much needed investment in both low carbon supply and energy efficiency. Read more
Heat is responsible for a third of carbon emissions and around half of the energy we use in the UK. Whilst there is a range of views about how to achieve the deep cuts needed in carbon emissions from heating, all future scenarios indicate that there will have to be a significant rise in the uptake of heat pumps. Read more
The government is looking at ways for the forthcoming Energy Bill not only to drive investment in new sources of low carbon power but also to pay for much needed investment in energy efficiency. There are different ways this could be done but the government’s lead option is to enable energy efficiency projects to take part in a new capacity market aimed at making sure we have enough electricity generating capacity to keep the lights on. Read more
Our recent report with WWF looked at three ways to reduce demand, as part of the government ‘s Electricity Market Reform, concluding that an electricity efficiency FiT is the best way forward. If it is introduced, it could stimulate a new market in negawatts or electricity saving by paying anyone who can to reduce their demand for electricity.
Putting a price on carbon is widely championed as an economically efficient way of cutting carbon emissions. Some even argue that pricing tools such as carbon taxes or cap and trade schemes should be allowed to operate on their own, and that renewable subsidies and regulation only distort the market.
However, a new report by Imperial College, On picking winners: the need for targeted support for renewable energy, funded by WWF-UK, shows that this is not the case. Carbon pricing on its own isn’t the best way to increase investment in renewables, especially those that are far from market such as wave and tidal. Here are three reasons why: Read more
British energy efficiency policy to date has mainly focused on domestic insulation, and rightly so: we have a particularly leaky housing stock and heating costs form the bulk of most household energy bills. But we also need to ensure we use electricity efficiently.
This is particularly important since electricity bills are predicted to rise as we replace our aging electricity system, and as the fossil fuels we use in power stations become more expensive. The UK’s service and industrial sectors are increasingly reliant on electricity and we need to make sure they are as lean as possible so they can emerge successfully from the current recession. Read more
Today the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECC) publishes its report on its pre-legislative scrutiny of the Draft Energy Bill. Here are the top five things we like about the committee’s report: Read more