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Energy – The Changing Climate – Fact Sheet

This fact sheet highlights the main points from Energy – The Changing Climate, The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s 22nd Report.

The key points are as follows:

Sustainable development

‘…continuing use of fossil fuels on anything like the present scale may make the whole process of development unsustainable’ (1.12)

Global warming

‘Greenhouse warming has the potential to cause very serious environmental damage and social upheaval’ (2.40)

UK efforts to tackle climate change

‘.we as a nation have not yet begun to confront the hard choices we shall have to face’ (1.14). ‘Because the UK’s CO2 emissions [in the 1990s] were being reduced by favourable short term trends, insufficient attention was paid to the fundamental changes that will be needed in the long run’ (10.5).

When to act

‘The longer the response is deferred, the more painful the consequences will be’ (1.16). ‘By the time the effects of human activities on the global climate are clear and unambiguous it would be too late to take preventative action’ (2.36). Nothing we can do now will prevent substantial warming, but action can delay the effects, allowing more time for adaptation, and prevent even worse damage in the longer term.

CO2

There is a close correlation between historic concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and global temperatures. Present day concentrations have not been seen for 3 million years, and the rate of change is unprecedented in geological history.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios

The IPCC central scenario would result in an increase in global mean surface temperature of 3.3° C by 2100 compared to today. This scenario is mistakenly seen by many as a ‘business as usual’ case, but in fact includes a considerable improvement in energy efficiency and non-fossil energy production. The predictions may be underestimates because they do not consider loss of tropical rainforests due to sea level rise and climate change, and increased carbon emissions from soils as the climate warms.

Sea level rise

By the 2080s 94 m people will be at risk from coastal flooding, compared to 13 m today (IPCC central scenario). Some island states, delta regions such as the Nile and Ganges, coral reefs and mangroves are particularly at risk.

UK consequences

In northern high latitudes temperature increases are expected to be double the global average, with more winter rain, floods and droughts. We can expect loss of large areas of valuable agricultural land and nature reserves on the east coast. Species would be displaced 300 km north, if they survive.

End of pipe CO2 removal

CO2 can be removed from power station flue gases, cooled and contained in geological formations below the sea-bed. This would raise the cost of electricity generation by up to 86%, but perhaps by as little as 20% in the case of coal. This is only suitable for very large, centralised power generation. There is ample geological capacity for disposal, but safety, legality and public acceptability are uncertain at present.

Tree planting

Most terrestrial carbon is in forest soils rather than the trees themselves. Forest clearance releases this as CO2. Protection of existing forests is important, but tree planting would require unrealistically large areas of land to be worthwhile, and would only be effective as long as trees are growing rapidly. Promoting the cultivation of fast growing trees which are harvested regularly to substitute for fossil fuels is a more robust policy. ‘.the managed use of energy crops provides a more effective and reliable way of countering climate change than planting trees to offset continuing use of fossil fuels’ (7.84).

Increasing ocean absorption

Increased biological activity could enhance natural processes of CO2 removal by the oceans, but ecological consequences could make this self-defeating, and it might be illegal.

Fuel switching

Use of gas rather than coal wherever possible reduces CO2 emissions and is useful in a transition phase to a more sustainable energy system, but is neither sufficient nor sustainable.

Energy system changes

‘.the primary methods for [limiting the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere} must be more fundamental modifications in the way the human race obtains and uses energy’ (3.57).

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol (KP)

These are ‘modest achievements when considered against the scale of the task that appears to lie ahead’ (4.4). The UK and 180 other nations are signatories to the 1992 UNFCCC, in which they pledge to ‘stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ (Article 2) and agree that ‘lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures’ (Article 3). UNFCCC places responsibility on industrialised countries to take the lead in dealing with climate change (Article 3.1). The KP is a positive step, but has yet to be ratified, and its targets are too small and too short term.

The moral imperative to act now.

Emissions from industrialised countries are the cause of the problem, but we will not suffer the worst consequences. They will be borne by future generations, particularly in poorer countries. ‘There is a moral imperative to act now’ (4.18). Failure to do so would be an ‘enormous global injustice’.

Economic appraisal of the options

Economic appraisals are fraught with disagreement over appropriate discount rates, costs and benefits. Cost-effectiveness is important so that we do not need to cut other essential spending such as education and health. However, uncertainty over the economics should not prevent action as there is a moral imperative to act.

CO2 stabilisation

To avoid ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ RCEP and the EU Council of Ministers propose that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere should not be allowed to rise beyond 550 ppmv, i.e. twice the pre-industrial concentration. This will not be easy: ‘The process can be compared to turning a super-tanker away from a collision course. There may appear to be little change of direction for some time after the helm is turned, but the change is still supremely necessary’ (4.38).

Developing countries

Industrialised countries are responsible for almost all of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations seen to date, but developing countries now account for 40% of annual emissions. They must be allowed to develop, so their emissions will increase further unless renewable energy options rapidly become the most attractive option.

Global per capita emissions limits

This would be the most ‘effective, enduring and equitable way forward’. The Kyoto Protocol allows emissions based on 1990 levels, which benefits countries which were the highest emitters in 1990. The opposite arrangement would be fairer and more logical. If developing countries are to be persuaded to take action we need to embark on a trajectory towards equal per capita emission rights for everyone. This is the principle of ‘contraction and convergence’.

Contraction and convergence

The ‘convergence and contraction’ approach envisages emissions in industrialised countries falling while those of developing countries increase (convergence) followed by a global reduction in emissions in perhaps 50 years’ time (contraction).

UK CO2 cuts

To play its part in a strategy of contraction and convergence which would stabilise atmospheric CO2 emissions at 550 ppmv would require the UK to cut CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050 and 80% by 2100.

UK leadership – the need for a long-term strategy

The UK has already played a positive role in negotiations and current targets for CO2 reduction are a positive step. However, ‘if the UK is to be effective in urging long-term, global action it must have.a credible policy for reduction in its emissions over several decades…’ (4.60). The City of London could become the global centre for trading in emission permits. We should use our important role in the EU and influence on the US to push for a long-term global solution.

‘First mover benefits’

Countries which get ahead of the game will reap benefits, e.g. in export markets for carbon abatement technologies. However, for the UK it is more an issue of catching up with other EU countries.

Rate of energy use in the UK

Primary energy use in the UK is 300 GW/yr (up 24% since 1965). Final energy consumption is 210 GW/yr (up 16% per annum). Some 90 GW/yr (31%) is wasted, mainly through losses in the electricity sector.

Current projections

Current UK government projections foresee continues steady growth in energy consumption.

Comparison with other EU states

The UK has a higher energy intensity (consumption per unit of GDP) than 9 other EU states, has the least renewable energy of any member state, and less CHP than 10 EU states.

UK energy policy

‘UK governments have never pursued an integrated and coherent energy policy’ (5.12). The objective is ‘ensuring secure, diverse and sustainable supplies of energy at competitive prices’ and ‘to achieve environmental improvements as a key component of the overall goal of sustainable development’. The pursuit of energy efficiency has been treated as a separate issue to these goals. Privatisation, price reductions and protecting the coal industry have been the main policy drivers in recent years.

Energy market liberalisation

‘..the operation of retail gas and electricity markets does not encourage efficiency in the use of energy’ (5.22). ‘To the extent that inefficiency in energy use has been encouraged by low and falling prices, the appropriate form of intervention is likely to be to levy corrective taxes designed to reflect the environmental damage caused by different types of fuel’ (5.28).

Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) and IPCC

CO2 should be made a controlled substance under IPC and IPPC. Pollution agencies should ensure that energy efficiency is a criterion in assessing ‘Best Available Technology’ (BAT). CO2 removal from fossil fuel flue gases should be made BAT if disposal in geological strata proves acceptable.

Meeting our Kyoto commitments

The UK will meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments due to fortuitous reductions in emissions form power generation, and assuming a further shift to gas fired generation and an increase in renewable energy from 2.5% to 10% of electricity supply by 2010.

The draft Climate Change Programme (CCP) and the 20% CO2 reduction target for 2010

The CCP goes beyond the Kyoto Protocol targets and identifies measures which could reduce UK CO2 emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2010. Policies to achieve this reduction are questionable. In particular the voluntary agreements on the efficiency of cars, ‘very intensive implementation of the Integrated Transport White Paper’ (given the current rate of progress ‘it is questionable whether all the necessary measures could be in place by 2010’ (5.57)), and household energy efficiency improvements are all assigned savings which the commission calls into question. ‘There is then something of a hole in the government’s climate change programme’ (5.59). The 20% target is currently of unclear status and RCEP recommends making it a firm target, and the introduction of a CCP which ensures it is met.

Research and development (R&D)

The UK government has cut R&D on renewable energy from £340 m/yr in 1987 to £44 m/yr in 1998 (an 81% cut). The UK has the lowest energy R&D spending of any IEA country except Portugal, Turkey or New Zealand. Japan spends 17 times as much as we do, and the US spends 5 times as much (relative to the size of each economy). In both countries non-nuclear energy R&D is 7 times greater than in the UK. Privately funded R&D has not compensated, and may have decreased recently. ‘The inadequacy of present programmes is a major point of concern’ (5.56).

Fuel poverty

‘Major improvements in the energy efficiency of UK housing are required. Without them the eradication of fuel poverty would involve substantial increases in energy consumption and in CO2 emissions’ (6.5)

Energy waste

‘Repeated analyses have shown that in every sector of the economy large quantities of energy are wasted and that apparently cost-effective investments for making energy savings are foregone’ (6.9).

Industry

The historic fall in energy consumption in manufacturing industry has now come to a halt because of low energy prices.

The Climate Change Levy (CCL)

The CCL will not damage competitiveness. Energy prices are low and represent a small proportion of total costs in all industries, and negotiated agreements provide relief for the more energy intensive sectors. Reductions in national insurance contributions will make the tax almost neutral in revenue terms. It will add 11% to the average industry’s electricity bill and 27% to its gas bill. It is described as ‘a very imperfect instrument’ and ‘an extremely complex and cumbersome market instrument which will result in a relatively modest emissions reduction’ (1.26)

Negotiated agreements under the CCL

Negotiated agreements (which entitle sectors to avoid 80% of the CCL) should be monitored independently, and draft agreements should be publicly available. Sector wide agreement should not allow businesses to avoid site specific conditions set under IPPC.

Carbon trading

RCEP welcomes carbon trading as a cost-effective way to raise energy efficiency and reduce emissions. Care is needed in setting rules, monitoring procedures and sanctions.

The services sector

Electricity consumption has increased rapidly in the services sector. ‘Almost all of the increase in energy use has been on the commercial side of the services sector, where there has been trend growth of 3% a year since the early 1970s’ (6.37). ‘Since 1990 the trend towards decreasing energy intensity has been stagnant and may even have gone into reverse’ (6.38). This is a result of low fuel prices, increased use of air conditioning and electrical appliances. There is great scope for cost effective energy savings in this sector.

Energy efficient commercial buildings

‘Such buildings generally feature high levels of insulation on all their external surfaces and advanced glazing with special coatings’ (6.42). ‘Most commercial buildings are either demolished or extensively refurbished within 20 years of construction, so the application of higher standards to new build and refurbishment could have a major impact on energy demand over the medium to long term’ (6.43). The building regulations should set more demanding targets for the energy efficiency of lighting, air conditioning and heating. All commercial tenants should have individual metered bills. Where this is not possible landlords should be required to inform tenants of energy consumption per square meter, and how this compares with good practice. The government should work with major property owners to overcome the landlord-tenant barrier to improved energy efficiency in the commercial sector.

CCL and the services sector

‘Given the fairly low price elasticities for energy in this and other sector…the price increases resulting from the government’s CCL are on their own likely to cause only small reductions in consumption’ (6.50)

SMEs

The Energy Saving Trust’s loan scheme for energy efficiency investments by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s) in Northern Ireland and Scotland should be extended to England and Wales.

Household energy efficiency

A decrease in energy consumption per household has been outweighed by an increase in household numbers, and a further 20% increase in household numbers by 2025 is predicted by DETR. There is economic potential for a 34% reduction in total household sector energy use over 20 to 30 years, largely through improved wall insulation and higher efficiency boilers. Falling energy prices, use of direct debit to pay bills, the reduction of VAT from 8 to 5% on gas and electricity and the lack of energy taxes on domestic consumption all weaken the incentives for householders to invest in energy efficiency. VAT on all energy saving equipment (including DIY installations) should be cut to 5% at the EU level (6.171).

Energy Efficiency Standards of Performance (EESOPs)

The obligation on utilities since 1994 to invest in domestic energy efficiency on consumers’ behalf is described as a small, cost-effective redistributive energy tax. Very few consumers are aware of it, as it is not marked on their bills. From 2002 to 2005 the government rather than the regulator will set energy saving targets under EESOPs. Despite greatly increased funding it expects domestic energy consumption to fall by only 2% by 2005. The government acknowledges that a 10% saving by 2010 is possible, ‘.with substantial net savings for consumers and major financial and health benefits for low income households in particular’ (Draft Climate Change Programme, paragraph 18). The government ‘aims to work towards’ these savings, and includes them in its estimate of total CO2 savings in the Climate Change programme. The Commission recommends that all households, and not just the fuel poor, should be eligible to benefit from spending under EESOPs

The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES)

Turnover in household building stock is extremely slow. Refurbishment of the existing stock, for example under HEES, is very important. The increased funding and maximum grants per household in England are welcomed, and it is recommended that these should be extended to all of the UK. ‘.there is a pressing need for further expansion of government programmes for raising energy efficiency and increasing warmth in low income homes, going beyond the existing EESOP and HEES schemes’ (6.163).

Health benefits

‘We recommend that the government set up a nation-wide scheme which enables medical practitioners who believe their patients’ health is being put at risk by fuel poverty to put their names forward for prompt attention under HEES’ (6.73). A nation-wide epidemiological study into the health and NHS spending implications of domestic energy efficiency is recommended.

Home Energy Conservation Action (HECA)

In 1995 local authorities were told to cut household energy consumption by 30% by 2011 but no substantial new funding was provided. DETR now says this target is unlikely to be reached. Local authorities and the government both blame each other for not being sufficiently committed. Lack of influence outside the public housing sector and lack of access to energy billing information are seen to hamper local authority efforts.

Energy labels on houses

Domestic energy labels as part of a ‘sellers’ pack’ are needed but will have little influence if energy prices remain so low. A rebate of up to 1% of the purchase price (in the form of relief on stamp duty) is recommended for buyers who improve the SAP rating of their new house by 20 points.

Appliances

The government should push for more energy efficiency standards and labelling at the EU level, and standards should be revised every few years to reflect best practice (the Japanese ‘front runner concept’). Bulk purchasing by the public sector and subsidies are recommended to stimulate markets for the most efficient appliances.

New housing

The Building Regulations ‘.have a central role to play in reducing UK CO2 emissions’ (6.91) and could be used to achieve substantial cost-effective energy savings. Immediate introduction of a minimum SAP rating of 80 is recommended immediately for new homes, rising to 100 by 2025. Ideally homes should be given a rating based on their CO2 emissions. Compact urban forms, use of brownfield sites and planning for reduced travel needs all have a role to play. Planning policy guidance to this effect in England is welcomed, and it should be extended to cover the rest of the UK.

Road fuel consumption

Fuel consumption for road transport is increasing very rapidly. There has been no detectable reduction in the overall fuel consumption of cars sold in Britain since 1994, as efficiency gains have been offset by increases in weight and features such as air conditioning. The market for very inefficient 4 wheel drive vehicles is growing rapidly.

Local Transport Plans

Local authorities will need sustained financial and political support if they are to use new powers such as road pricing and workplace parking charges to achieve the CO2 savings quantified in the Climate Change Programme.

Vehicle excise duty

Vehicle excise tax should be used to penalise inefficient vehicles and subsidise the lowest CO2 emitters.

Voluntary agreements with vehicle producers

The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has made a voluntary commitment to cut average emissions of new cars by 25% (1995 to 2008). This could be achieved by simply selling more small cars. Fall back mandatory standards are needed if the target is not reached.

Transport fuel duty

Large increases in transport fuel duty are recommended, with revenues earmarked for public transport investment.

Cost-effective energy savings across all sectors

Using only technologies which are cost-effective could reduce UK energy consumption by 2 to 15% by 2010. This compares to an 11% increase under ‘business as usual’, or as much as a 23% increase as predicted in the most recent DTI estimates. ‘We conclude that UK final energy consumption could be reduced over the coming decade without any impact on competitiveness and with a strong benefit to the economy and living standards’ (6.133).

A carbon tax

The CCL should be seen as an intermediate stage on a path to the introduction of an upstream carbon tax on fuels, based on their CO2 emissions. This would ensure the price signal is passed on to all consumers, from power stations to final users. Until fuel poverty is eliminated a substantial proportion of the revenues from the carbon tax should be ring-fenced for energy efficiency improvements and social security benefit increases for low-income households. Remaining revenue should be used for more general energy efficiency improvements and to protect the competitiveness of UK businesses. The carbon tax should be introduced as a package of measures (advice, labelling, subsidies etc.) such that the price effect is not the only driver for changed behaviour. The UK should push for an EU wide carbon tax, but impose one unilaterally if there is no agreement within a few years.

Overall UK policy on energy conservation

‘.the recent achievements and current objectives of the government across the board in energy conservation are far from adequate’ (6.170). RCEP agrees with the International Energy Agency who found the UK’s energy efficiency programmes ‘.unconvincing’. ‘.energy efficiency needs to be at the heart of government energy policies’ (6.171). ‘A range of targets should be developed for raising energy efficiency in all sectors of the economy’ (6.172) as the core of a ‘.long term strategy for gradually reducing energy consumption’ (6.174).

Nuclear power

Nuclear accidents are a real threat. ‘..maintaining containment in the face of all possible accidents, including aircraft crashes or sabotage would be hard to guarantee’ (7.13). However, nuclear waste is the main problem. The UK has ‘.no generally accepted long term policy’ on the nuclear waste problem (7.17) and ‘.indefinite storage of high level and intermediate level wastes.above ground has become policy by default’ (7.190. ‘Considerations of inter-generational equity embedded in the concept of sustainable development demand the solution of the waste management problem, to the satisfaction of the scientific community and the general public, before new nuclear power stations are constructed’ (7.19).

Large hydro

Due to likely objections from the public there are no suitable sites for large hydro power left in the UK. Existing capacity could be upgraded somewhat.

Tidal power and the Severn Barrage

Tidal power could provide 20% of the UK’s electricity at very low marginal cost. This would make tidal barrages an asset bequeathed to future generations. Ecological concerns and high initial costs are significant, but tidal barrages should be kept under consideration as they are such a large potential source of zero-CO2 electricity. Flood barriers may become necessary along the eastern coast of the UK as sea levels rise, and these should be used to generate power.

Wind power

Onshore wind could provide all of the UK’s electricity needs, but objections on aesthetic grounds have inhibited its rapid growth. Brownfield sites on urban fringes should be investigated. Offshore wind is an even larger potential resource, but landscape and ecological issues remain important. The government should develop laws for the authorisation and environmental regulation of offshore wind.

Solar electricity

Solar photovoltaics (PV) have a large theoretical potential in the UK, but are costly, short lived and their manufacture is energy intensive and uses toxic substances. Visual impacts also need to be considered. An obligation on manufacturers to recycle end-of-life PV cells should be considered.

Solar thermal

Passive solar gain and active solar water heating should be integrated into low energy building design.

Small hydro

The resource is not very large, but may have been underestimated, e.g. in South West England.

Waste to energy

Landfill gas will become a less significant energy source when the EC Landfill Directive reduces the organic content of urban waste. Waste incineration for energy releases toxic pollutants such as dioxins.

Agric/forestry wastes

Soil quality issues related to removal of wastes need to be addressed, but this is a significant resource.

Energy crops

This is a large potential resource, with 1 million hectares of surplus agricultural land expected to be available in the UK in 2010. Environmental benefits are possible but care is needed that commercial pressures do not result in corners being cut. Strong support for energy crops is recommended. Production of energy crops should be regarded as a primary use for agricultural land. ‘Realising the full potential of energy crops will be a massive undertaking’ (7.85). Energy crops and agricultural waste should be used primarily as fuels for heat production in CHP schemes.

Wave power

More support for wave power R&D is needed, to bring costs down.

Tidal stream power

Akin to underwater wind farms, these produce more constant power than tidal barrages (as the direction of tidal flow is unimportant) and tidal streams are more predictable than winds.

Green electricity

Green electricity tariffs are welcome, but government support for renewables is ‘.more appropriate and effective’ (7.109). The government needs a renewable energy target beyond the current 10% target for electricity in 2010, and it should cover ‘.a much larger share of primary energy demand’ (7.106). Exemptions from the CCL for renewable energy are positive, but an upstream carbon tax on fuels would be a ‘.more general and a more appropriate incentive’.

The Renewables Obligation

The obligation on electricity suppliers to buy renewable energy is welcomed and it should be extended to Northern Ireland. However concern is expressed that it will not support the more expensive technologies which hold long term potential such as energy crops. Some revenue from the CCL should be earmarked for this purpose.

Public acceptance of renewables.

Schemes developed under the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation have encountered problems gaining public acceptance and hence planning permission. This is a concern for the government’s renewables target. For example, ‘development of wind energy on land in the UK is, in effect, stalled’ (7.117). Regional renewable energy planning is needed, and should involve local people. Offshore sites should be identified, and all plans should be subject to strategic environmental assessment.

Combined heat and power (CHP) and heat networks

‘.there is a strong case for a much wider development of CHP schemes for both the industrial and domestic markets’ (8.7). ‘.the UK must develop a comprehensive strategy for the supply and use of heat’ 98.6). National heat management will require major public works including ‘.a much higher standard of insulation in buildings’ (8.16). Wherever heat networks for space heating are not viable, heat pumps should be considered.

Existing power stations

Large centralised power stations with cooling towers to disperse waste heat ‘now stand as monuments to inefficiency and waste’ (8.28).

Future power stations

Should be small CHP stations fuelled by gas or biofuels. Some large power stations, probably fossil-fuelled with CO2 capture, will be needed as back-up for intermittent renewables. Energy storage or nuclear power could be alternatives but are not viable options with current technology.

Possible UK energy balances in 2050.

A 60% cut in CO2 emissions is needed for the UK to pursue a ‘contract and converge’ approach. Four possible scenarios are presented, with different levels of energy conservation and commitment to renewable energy and baseload fossil fuels with CO2 capture or nuclear power. All scenarios assume oil remains the main transport fuel, and fossil fuels continue to be used for high-grade industrial heat demand and some micro-CHP. A Severn Barrage provides tidal power in all scenarios.

Scenario 1

UK energy demand is stabilised at the 1998 level, through energy policy changes which ‘.need not be massive nor disruptive’ (9.10). A fourfold increase in nuclear power is envisaged, equivalent to 46 Sizewell B’s. Alternatively fossil fuels with CO2 capture could be used. In addition, use of renewables would have to increase 20 times over, with 15% of UK agricultural land devoted to energy crops, 200 large offshore wind farms and a 65-fold increase in on-shore wind power. PV, small hydro and tidal stream power all play a part. This scenario is seen as unpromising, as such an increase in nuclear power would be unacceptable. Conventional fossil fuels (i.e. without CO2 capture) supply 50% of total energy.

Scenario 2

Assumes a 1% per annum reduction in energy consumption, achieved through a sustained and vigorous application of the energy policies recommended in the RCEP report. As a result no baseload nuclear or fossil fuel capacity is needed, and onshore wind and PV could be halved. Conventional fossil fuels represent 70% of total energy supply in Scenarios 2 and 3.

Scenario 3

Energy consumption falls at the same rate as in Scenario 2. Use of 19 large baseload plants allows the contribution from PV, onshore wind and energy crops to be very small.

Scenario 4

A 47% reduction in final energy demand allows a combination of no baseload plants and modest use of renewables. This scenario is seen as unlikely as energy consumption cuts this large are thought improbable by 2050, and could require ‘some reduction, or redefinition, of living standards’. Conventional fossil fuels account for 84% of energy supply.

Business as usual

All four scenarios show significant energy conservation, diverging sharply from the existing trend. Failure to achieve this would be ‘.unacceptable on both moral and prudential grounds’ unless a massive programme of nuclear power or CO2 disposal becomes an acceptable choice (9.36).

Government energy ministries and regulator

‘There are worrying signs that sufficient weight is not being given to environmental objectives and the achievement of long term policy goals’ (10.43). There is a need for an effective executive body to advocate a more sustainable energy system. ‘…achievements of present policies in this field have fallen well short of what will be needed from now on’ (10.44).

A Sustainable Energy Agency (SEA)

A new SEA would report to the DTI and DETR, and could be based on Novem in the Netherlands or the Energy Conservation Centre in Japan. It would be essentially a money-moving organisation, controlling funding of the government’s energy efficiency and renewable energy programmes. It would absorb some staff from the Energy Saving trust, Energy Technology Support Unit, DETR and DTI.

Wider policy areas

The need to cut greenhouse gas emissions ‘.should be taken into account in all government policies. This is not the case at present’ (10.67). Particular areas for attention are the built environment (the government should ‘.launch a long-term programme to bring about major reductions in the energy requirements of buildings’ (10.68)), transport, agriculture and offshore development.

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