10 June 2013

Divisions weaken confidence in UK energy policy

Climate change

The UK Parliament’s failure to set a decarbonisation target in its Energy Bill and continuing disagreements over climate change are damaging the UK’s energy policy, according to the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE).

IChemE believes it is ‘regrettable’ that the UK Parliament has failed to adopt clear and specific targets for reducing carbon emissions by 2030, and that the move is undermining industry confidence to invest in sustainable energy supplies.

The decision means recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change – which provides independent, evidence-based advice to the UK Government and Parliament – to set emissions targets for the power sector have been ignored.

In a letter to The Rt. Hon Edward Davey MP, secretary of state for energy and climate change, IChemE’s director of policy and communications, Andrew Furlong, expressed concern that divisions in the coalition government and influential climate change sceptics have weakened the Government’s resolve to tackle climate change, and set a clear course for the energy market.

Furlong said: “The UK Government needs to show political courage and leadership to create certainty in the carbon policy and restore confidence in the energy sector.

“Too many aspects of current energy policy are in danger of stalling including nuclear energy, shale gas and renewable energy. These latest developments also suggest Government may be distancing itself from its previous commitments on decarbonisation.”

In his letter, Furlong also offered his support to the secretary of state for his robust stance against climate change sceptics during a speech at the Met Office.

Furlong said: “IChemE agrees with your position that the case in support of anthropogenic climate change has been overwhelmingly made. Every major government, every respected scientific academy and over 97% of the peer reviewed papers in the literature supports the view that climate change is the result of human activity.

“The time for prevarication is long past and the UK government must take a lead by passing legislation that will set a course for the adoption of widely available, carbon-free or ultra-low carbon energy”.

My IChemE

IChemE is a registered charity in England & Wales (214379), and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 039661).