The drive towards decarbonisation
Fifteen years ago, there was no general reporting of energy or carbon to government. Today, the landscape is overcrowded and confusing. This complexity stems from conflicting policies, where the same energy source needs to reported multiple times, or the scheme coverage varies, sometimes applying to specific sites, other times applying to whole organisations. And don’t forget that climate change and carbon taxation policies are changing all the time.
It’s a political minefield, a power play between energy producing states and those dependent on energy imports, and involves complying with legislation from the EU and UK, including:
The Energy Act
A significant piece of legislation designed to decarbonise energy generation by supporting investment in low-carbon and clean energy sectors and incentivising investment in renewables.
The Climate Change Act
Setting the framework for the UK to transition to a low-carbon economy. The Act requires that UK emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 are reduced to at least 80% below 1990 levels.
Renewables Obligation, Feed-in Tariffs and Renewable Heat Incentive
Although originally designed to promote renewable technologies, much of the focus has been on controlling, and in many cases cutting, subsidies.
It seems there is a certain paradox between the UK Government wanting to promote a low-carbon economy, and delivering the support for industry to enable it. However, by the end of the year, it’s hoped there will be greater clarity, and simplification, on the UK’s carbon policy, following:
Fifth Carbon Budget
This must become law before the end of June. The Committee has recommended this budget be set at a 57% reduction in emissions, building on the 36% reduction already achieved by 2014 and the 52% reduction by 2025, already committed to under the existing four carbon budgets.
Taking place in Paris from the 30 November, countries will come together to agree what they will do nationally to tackle climate change, reach a commitment on how they will increase targets every five years to make them more ambitious, and how to finance initiatives for developing countries.
In terms of UK energy and climate change policy, the message is clear, our government may still be struggling with its narrative about how to reconcile the different elements of its green policy agenda, but the Treasury is firmly in the driving seat, securing our country’s future.