The following is a press release from the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The UK’s energy and climate change policy has been recalibrated for the long term, supported for the first time by comprehensive analysis of plausible pathways to a secure, low-carbon energy system in 2050.
In the first ever Annual Energy Statement to Parliament, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne set out 32 actions being taken to accelerate the transformation of the energy system and wider economy.
Groundbreaking ‘2050’ analysis is published alongside, including six illustrative ‘pathways’ showing that meeting the target of an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 is ambitious but achievable, and compatible with maintaining security of energy supplies. A do-nothing ‘reference’ scenario highlights the risks of a high carbon future. An online ‘2050 Calculator’ also goes live today, enabling the public to explore the trade-offs inherent in designing the future secure, low carbon energy system and wider economy.
Chris Huhne said:
“The coalition brings resolve and stability to energy and climate change policy. Today’s Annual Energy Statement sets out 32 important actions to introduce the transparency, certainty and long-termism needed to unlock investment.
“Our future energy system is too important to rely on crystal ball gazing. The 2050 Calculator provides the most comprehensive, long term analysis ever undertaken by Government. The decision to publish this material is a watershed in government’s honesty with the public about what’s needed in the long term. It will guide the decisions we make during this Parliament about the energy system we want in 40 years’ time.
“The challenge is ambitious but achievable. We’re already on track to cut the UK’s emissions by 34% by 2020, and will do more if we can win the case for greater ambition across the whole EU. But our line of sight needs to extend much further, through to the middle of the century.
“The era of cheap, abundant energy is over. We must find smart ways of making energy go further, and value it for the costly resource it is, not take it for granted. And even as we reduce overall demand for energy, we may need to meet a near doubling in demand for electricity, as we shift industry, transport and heating onto the grid.
“There are big choices and big trade offs in how we do this. The six pathways described today are only illustrative, but they highlight the scale and urgency of the task.
“Choosing the high carbon alternative would be high risk. It would lock in exposure to volatile oil prices, declining global reserves and rapidly increasing global energy demand. We’d risk having a dead end economy lagging behind those with the foresight to grab a share of growth in green industries.”
Read more about the Annual Energy Statement and 2050 Pathways Analysis