UK on track to miss carbon emissions target

26th June 2017 | Commercial Energy

The UK’s ambitious target of slashing carbon emissions by more than half within 13 years is at risk because of government dithering on energy policy, industrial professionals have warned. A survey by the Energy Institute, the professional body for the energy sector, has found that four fifths of its members believe the UK is currently on track to miss the 2030 goals.

“The mood among our members is that energy policy is on pause and ministers need to hit the play button,” said Louise Kingham, chief executive of the Energy Institute.

Among the list of stalled government decisions are the fate of a multi-million pound competition to build mini nuclear power plants and whether to strike a subsidy deal for a pioneering tidal lagoon at Swansea. A flagship plan on how to meet the UK’s 2030 target of cutting emissions by 57% compared to 1990 levels, originally expected last year, is now “long overdue,” Kingham added.

Jim Skea, the president of the institute, said of the delayed Clear Power Plan: “If we’re going to keep on track (with binding carbon targets) there is an urgent need to get that published.”

The departure of energy minister Nick Hurd is seen as a blow to the plan, designed to set out how the government will tackle the huge shortfall in carbon cuts identified by its advisers. The group’s annual Energy Barometer report said Brexit was a new and “material concern” for further uncertainty.

However, perception of risks from energy policy was slightly reduced from last year, when industry was suffering the fallout from the flurry of changes after the Conservatives took power in 2015, cutting renewables, carbon captures and energy efficiency programmes.

The government’s decision to quit an EU nuclear cooperation treaty, Euratom, was seen as overwhelmingly negative for new nuclear projects including Hinkley Point C in Somerset. Nearly four fifths of Energy Institute members thought it would also negatively impact the UK supply chain.

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