There have been lots of interesting energy-related headlines coming out of Britain recently:
—Renewables beat out coal for the first time ever for an entire quarter.
—Britain pledged to phase out coal by 2025.
—And most of the UK's major cities are aiming for 100% clean energy (not just electricity!) by 2050.
Each of these stories, by themselves, is a pretty big deal. Taken together, they suggest that the transition to a low (or at least lower) carbon economy is well under way. Take this recent headline from Business Green as another case in point: The UK's power sector cut CO2 emissions 23% from electricity generation in just two years. The government is also predicting that these trends are set to continue.
It's not all good news, however. The ruling Conservatives have caught major flack for favoring gas over renewables. While championing "high ambition" climate action abroad, it seems the powers that be see UK remaining dependent on fossil fuels at home for some time to come. Indeed the Business Green article linked to above also confirms that Britain is about 10% off target for meeting its CO2 emission reduction commitments for the mid-2020s, and ministers are expected to announce further initiatives soon to make up for the short fall.
Still, wrangling aside, this headline is still very positive news. Whether the British government is headed for a lower carbon future or true decarbonization (as many of us believe is necessary), it is at least proving that emissions cuts can happen fast, and they can be deep.
Remember that the next time someone tells you that Obama's Clean Power Plan, which aims for 30% reductions by 2030, is a case of too much too fast.