The UK government has today set out its fifth climate budget which sets the targets for future. It is an ambitious target, to cut carbon emissions by 57% below 1990 levels by 2032. However, the government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) have warned that in order for the government to meet this target, current policies will have to be improved.

Brexit effects confidence in energy policy.

Energy and climate change policy has been the subject of much discussion since the UK voted via referendum to leave the European Union. Many fears were that policy would be watered down or scrapped yet today has proved that the UK is still very much committed to combating climate change.

Doubts that the UK had become slack on combating climate change are, however, well founded. With recent cuts to renewable subsidies and the government policy of pushing for hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking; we have seen job losses and grassroots opposition. But, the UK is yet to ratify the Paris climate accord, which government should probably see is done as soon as possible in order to provide credibility to its policies. Along with joining and adhering to international agreements, the country needs more research and innovation.

Technology innovation needed

It is commonly accepted that we do have the technology in order to generate energy in a renewable and sustainable way. That being said, the technology could be improved and made more efficient.

Also, coupled with generation of energy, we still have the problem of how the store energy. Battery technology is still to catch up with the advances made in energy generation, and battery storage will in the future play a key role in energy policy.

Energy generation and storage is still only one aspect of energy policy.

The government is going to have to do more in terms of energy use efficiency and transport. Homes need to be more efficient with greater insulation and autonomy of energy generation. Policies that the government could utilize, include that of green roofing, requiring new builds have renewable generating capacity or general building regulations made stricter.

Q1 of 2016 energy stats released

Today, along with the news of the fifth climate budget, the statistics were released for energy usage and generation for the first quarter of 2016. 43.8% of electricity generation came from low carbon sources (renewable and nuclear), an increase of 2% on the first quarter of 2015. The biggest growth in renewable capacity came in the form of Solar PV and Bioenergy (including co-firing) which increased 40.9% and 18% respectively.

It is clear that the UK is year on year improving its Renewable Energy capacity, however, there is still much to do. Policy needs to change in order to accommodate the new target of 57% carbon reductions by 2032. But in the short term, it would appear, domestically, climate change will be overshadowed by Brexit and the leadership elections of by Conservative and Labour leaders.

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