photo via flickr
Kudos to new UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is proving he's willing to go further than his "special relationship" counterpart, President Obama, to combat climate change. First, Cameron ended the controversial third runway at Heathrow airport, and now the PM's government is saying no to any new coal plants that are not CCS enabled. And since there are no large scale carbon capture and storage technology projects in existence, it's a safe bet that there will be no new coal-fired power plants built in the UK for some time to come. The announcement was made today as Cameron's government rolled out its Annual Energy Statement. The UK has a goal of an 80% reduction in emissions by 2050.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhn laid out the ambitious plan, which also looks to help homeowners with energy savings technologies and encourages distributed sources of power. Huhn said he expects prices for home energy and gas to increase, but that the government will seek to counteract that by offering strong programs for energy savings at home.
Huhne told Parliament:
"The era of cheap, abundant energy is over. We must find smart ways of making energy go further, and value it for the costly resource it is, not take it for granted. And even as we reduce overall demand for energy, we may need to meet a near doubling in demand for electricity, as we shift industry, transport and heating onto the grid."
Cameron's moves should be a signal to President Obama that coal is not the future. On the stump and in legislation that he has supported, coal companies have been richly rewarded. The Waxman-Markey bill, passed last year, put a price on carbon, but it also contained huge giveaways to coal in the shape of free pollution allowances and hundreds of billions of dollars for CCS research and deployment. Obama has also championed FutureGen, a proposed multi-billion dollar CCS test project in a corn field in Illinois.