We've recently featured some prominent UK initiatives promoting ambitious targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and boosting renewable energy generation. We've seen Dale Vince, of UK renewable energy company Ecotricity proposing a 'zero carbon' Britain by 2050 (meaning zero carbon emissions, presumably, rather than an eradication of all carbon-based life forms!), and we've seen the folks from the Centre for Alternative Energy upping the ante by claiming that this target is achievable by 2027. The UK government, however, seems to take a different view. According to a report in today's Guardian, government officials have secretly briefed ministers that there is no chance of meeting the renewable energy targets that Tony Blair signed up to earlier this year, and are suggesting that they need to start looking for escape routes:
"In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists. An internal briefing paper for ministers, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, reveals that officials at the department, now the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, think the best the UK could hope for is 9% of energy from renewable sources such as wind, solar or hydro by 2020."
Given the lofty rhetoric from the UK government on sustainable development and combating climate change, we can't help but be deeply disappointed that this isn't translating into real action. The realization that it may be 'challenging' to reach the 20% goal pales into insignificance, when compared to the dire threat of global warming. We'd like to see the Government owning up to its failures so far, but using this as an opportunity to massively increase its efforts in renewable energy and other clean technologies. The gravity of the situation demands nothing less. ::The Guardian::via site visit::