UK fracking go-ahead further chills the renewables sector

29th July 2018 | Commercial Energy

The UK government’s decision this week to allow fracking undermines its commitments to tackle climate change and reduce fossil fuel use. It came just days before the government’s own data showed renewable electricity hit a record high last year.

This summer has seen devastating weather across the world, driven by climate change. Record-breaking temperatures have occurred in several countries including the UK, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Japan and Oman.

Wild fires have also taken hold in Slovakia, Poland, Latvia and northern Europe – including within the Arctic Circle – and further afield in Canada and the US, while those in Greece claimed at least 70 lives. And the high temperatures and ensuing droughts are threatening harvests across Europe, which could reduce food supply and push up consumer prices later in the year.

Renewables Sector

Even before this summer, the UK population was worried about climate change. In April, Data from the BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker showed that 74 percent of people said they were concerned or very concerned about climate change. Just fewer than half (46 percent) believe climate change to be caused mainly by human activity. Only 10 percent think it is mainly due to natural processes, with 39 percent believing it is a combination of the two.

Yet, despite these very real concerns and the tangible effects of climate change, the government has developed a two-faced and contradictory energy policy. On the one hand, it is pushing ahead with fracking for carbon-emitting shale gas, but is also attempting to tackle climate change and reduce the country’s carbon emissions. And the forerunner to this Janu-like state of affairs was the Conservative party’s own policy changes that led to a collapse in renewables investment.

Fracking firm Cuadrilla was issued a licence to start operations in Lancashire by the government on Tuesday, following a seven-year hiatus during which a new regulatory regime was developed for the sector.

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