Britain looks set to miss a European renewable energy target and its goal of a 34 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 as emissions decline more slowly, a report by Cambridge Econometrics said on Monday.
“The challenge now is to ensure that the 2020 targets are met by policies that can cause emissions to fall substantially in a context of economic growth,” said Paul Elkins, senior consultant at Cambridge Econometrics and the report’s co-author. The UK will meet its first two carbon budgets up to 2017 due to reduced industrial output from the economic downturn.
It may not meet its third budget (2018-2022) unless the new coalition government introduces firm policies to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in sectors not covered by the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, the report said.
The budgets are part of a national goal towards cutting emissions by 34 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels and 80 percent by 2050.
The 34 percent cut might not be met if the third carbon budget is missed, the report warned.
Carbon dioxide emissions are forecast to fall further in 2010 after a 10 percent decline in 2009, due to the recession and fuel switching from coal to nuclear in power generation.
But, if current policies are continued by the new British government, the UK will also fall well short of its renewable energy targets for 2010 and 2020.
It may also not meet an EU target of a 15 percent share of renewable energy in the UK’s total final energy consumption by 2020, the report said.