The United Kingdom will almost certainly miss its 2020 targets for renewable energy, the National Grid has said.
After the Paris Agreement was set, it was time for the real work to begin – and renewable energy is expected to play a pivotal role. But while most of Europe is already exceeding expectations, one player is underperforming: Britain. Even in the most optimistic scenario presented by the National Grid, Britain will still fail in its target of producing 15% of total energy from renewables.
There seems to be a great deal of hypocrisy in the UK when it comes to climate change. While then Prime Minister David Cameron was announcing the country’s green ambitions, he actually raised subsidies for the oil industry, becoming the only G7 country to do so. He also scraped a fund for carbon capture technology after previously declaring it is “crucial” for the UK. Similarly, the government’s spokesman said the UK was still committed to the Paris agreement, but its advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, pointed to a huge mismatch between ministers’ aspirations and their policies.
Several scenarios were presented. Under the most pessimistic prediction, the UK will reach its goals 9 years later than expected, in 2029. Even in the best scenario, they’re still 2 years late. The only realistic way through which the country might be set on the right path is through massive government intervention – but that’s extremely unlikely to happen. A spokesman told BBC News:
“The 2050 targets are still achievable, but we need much more momentum. The government has to change the trajectory or we are going to fail. We need to learn our lessons from where things have gone wrong so far.”
This is unlikely for several reasons. First of all, the UK really doesn’t seem interested in achieving any green plans. For all the rhetoric, there has been little momentum coming from the top. Secondly, the UK recently held a referendum to exit the European Union. As a result, there is a great deal of uncertainty, a great deal of fear, the Pound is reaching historic lows and the British economy is starting to shake. In this unfavorable economic situation, the environment usually gets put at the bottom of the priority list.