The world’s CO2 emissions are set to continue rising for decades unless there is greater ambition on climate change, despite the “profound shifts” already underway in the global energy system. That is one of the key messages from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2019, published today. This year’s 810-page edition is notable for its renamed central “Stated Policies Scenario” (STEPS), formerly known as the “New Policies Scenario”. In this scenario, which aims to mirror the outcome of policies already set out by governments, a surge in wind and solar power would see renewable sources of energy meeting the majority of increases in global energy demand. But a plateau for coal, along with rising demand for oil and gas, would mean global emissions continue to rise throughout the outlook period to 2040.
Carbon Brief 13th Nov 2019 read more »
The Cameron-era pledge to lead the ‘Greenest Government Ever’ always sounded more impressive than it actually was. Unless your plan is to actively increase greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate environmental destruction, then by definition the most recent government should always be able to lay claim to the ‘greenest government ever’ mantle. Theresa May’s promise to “leave the environment in a better state than we found it” represented a much higher bar, requiring not just an end to environmental degradation but the start of a new era of environmental restoration. As with so many issues, May fell badly short of delivering on her promises. As Boris Johnson today prepares to make a ‘clean energy revolution’ a centrepiece of his campaign, it is the tension between these two Conservative promises that will shape how the government’s environmental record is judged going into the election. On the positive side of the ledger, the past nine years of Conservative-led government has delivered a sustained and relatively rapid reduction in carbon emissions (for which the Lib Dems deserve a share of the credit) that stands comparison with any other major economy. Over the same period the UK has also built a genuinely world-leading offshore wind industry inside a decade, while the phase out of coal power – triggered in large part by a Conservative Chancellor and his carbon price floor – has surprised virtually everyone with its world-leading speed and effectiveness. For all May’s flaws, her legacy as the first world leader of a major economy to deliver a legally-binding net zero emission target is assured. The problem, as yesterday’s investigation from the FT and Unearthed (unlikely bedfellows only a few years ago, no?) makes plain, is that there is another side of the green ledger, and it makes for bleak reading for both the government and anyone who cares about the environment. There are no state secrets contained in this latest assessment of the UK’s progress against its various environmental targets, everyone who works in sustainability will be well aware of the various shortfalls. But taken together the litany of failures is still something to behold. The UK is off track to meet targets on air quality, biodiversity, tree-planting, renewables deployment – deep breath – waste-to-landfill, recycling rates, and medium term carbon budgets. This is a non-exhaustive list of environmental policy soft-pedalling.
Business Green 13th Nov 2019 read more »
Boris Johnson promises large-scale green investments.
FT 13th Nov 2019 read more »
Boris Johnson has promised to ensure that no one is ever more than 30 miles from an electric car charging point as part of efforts to energise the economy after Brexit. In his first big speech of the campaign Mr Johnson said he would double government research and development spending to £18 billion within five years as part of a “new wave of economic growth”. Specific commitments included making sure everyone in England and Wales was within 30 miles of an electric vehicle charge point by spending £500 million to expand the network. There was also a pledge to increase the amount of electricity generated from offshore wind from 30GW to 40GW by 2030, creating 9,000 jobs.
Times 14th Nov 2019 read more »