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Britain Looks Unlikely to Meet Its 2020 Emissions Targets

28 Jul 14:00 by Steve Walia

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The latest figures suggest that Britain will struggle to meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions targets, which were legally binding when they were agreed with the EU. The National Grid said that some good progress had been made, particularly in the field of solar and wind-generated clean energy, but that the ambitious original targets looked set to be unachievable within the time frames.

National Grid modelled four different scenarios which used different types of policy regime, but even in the option using the most environmentally supportive government policies, the UK still looked set to fail in its original objective of generating 15pc of the country's total energy needs from clean and green renewable energies.

The government itself has stopped saying that the target will be achieved, but it says that good progress is still being made. The report by the National Grid also says that tougher environmental protection policies need to be implemented rapidly or Britain will also fail to achieve its own long-term carbon-reduction plans.

The Climate Change Act is legally binding and requires carbon emission reductions of 80pc by 2050, with hefty fines to be imposed on those countries that fail to achieve their contracted aims. A government spokesperson said that Britain was still fully committed to achieving the target and pointed to progress in solar, hydro and electric cars.

The National Grid's recommendations to the government are that progress towards hydrogen and electric cars needs to rise almost three-fold to 40TWh from the current level of 15Twh. Support for clean heating systems must also be promoted, with the need to increase capacity to 95 TWh from 35 TWh currently. 

The 'low-ambition' scenario modelled by the firm showed that the UK would miss its targets by nine years, based on current progress.