United Kingdom

United Kingdom

British CO2 strategy should emphasise offshore wind

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More wind energy -- particularly offshore -- as well as solar power and energy crops are among the technologies needed in a complete transformation of the UK's energy culture to help combat climate change. This is a key finding of a hard hitting report by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution which calls for a 60% reduction in UK carbon dioxide emissions over the next 50 years. "Energy -- The Changing Climate," which received widespread media coverage, looks much further ahead than the government's draft climate change program. Commission chairman Sir Tom Blundell says the poorest countries will suffer most from climate change caused by the reckless burning of fossil fuels. "We cannot expect other nations to do their part in countering this threat -- least of all if they are much less wealthy -- unless we demonstrate we are really serious about it," he adds. Although the government's goal of a 20% reduction in carbon dioxide from 1990 levels is a step in the right direction, the commission recommends this should become a firm target. But it is unlikely to be achieved unless ways are found of achieving sustainable solutions within liberalised energy markets. Among the report's 19 key recommendations is: far greater use of renewables; a carbon tax on all sectors to replace the proposed climate change levy; transformation of the electricity distribution network to accommodate a greater number of small-scale local generators, many using renewables; a sustainable energy agency; and a comprehensive strategy for developing renewables offshore, with the possibility of combining different technologies in a single installation.

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