More renewables vital to avoid climate change ‘fail’

The UK needs more renewable energy if it’s to avoid an “epic fail” on its climate change targets, according to a new report.

The report by environmental lobby groups including Green Alliance said power generated from onshore wind and large-scale solar is already cheaper that than produced by burning fossil fuels.

It argued that the cost of solar and wind will continue to fall during the 2020s while the price of fossil fuels will keep on rising.

“Although the power sector has seen the most dramatic emissions reductions, investment in renewables is set to drop by 95% between 2017 and 2020,” the Green Alliance said.

“Despite falling costs, there is a shrinking pipeline of renewables projects up to 2020, and the government needs to make sure this decline is reversed.”

Heat and transport

The report noted that, while emissions from the power sector have halved since 2012, emissions from heating systems have fallen by only 10% and transport emissions have risen.

Sales of electric vehicles are not rising fast enough, it added.

“The success in the power sector, driven by coal power phase out and an increase in renewables, shows that well-directed government policy can rapidly reduce emissions,” said the Green Alliance.

“But, to meet our climate change obligations, we now need to find new ways to kick start reductions in other sectors, as well as maintaining the trajectory in the power sector.”

Green growth plan

The report concluded that there are “significant opportunities” for an “ambitious” clean growth plan from the UK Government.

“The government’s ban on new sales of conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040 is a step in the right direction, but more ambitious targets would have economic benefits,” the alliance added.

The Green Alliance is a charity and think tank and its report was compiled with CAFOD, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF.

> Download the report