UK slips down sustainable energy table
The UK has fallen seven places in the World Energy Council's (WEC) third annual Energy Sustainability Index, which ranks countries in terms of the security, affordability and environmental sustainability of their energy supply.
In the overall rankings for 2011, the UK fell to 14th position from 8th last year, overtaken by countries including Colombia, Spain and Italy, while Switzerland, Sweden and France remained unmoved in the top three rankings.
Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of the WEC’s policy assessment group, said uncertainty over UK government policy was in part to blame for the fall, citing in particular the plans for electricity market reform (EMR).
“The headline of EMR proposals is known, but the detail of how they’re going to work is not known,” she said. “Detail needs to be filled in and the credibility of the execution of the policies needs to be built to encourage people to invest.”
In its report outlining this year’s rankings, the WEC argues that to ensure a sustainable energy supply, governments must think long term and base policies on realistic costs, including placing a value on CO2, to attract the investment needed.
Policymakers must also understand organisations’ need for clear timescales for returns on investment on energy-efficiency measures, the WEC concludes.
“Without a deeper understanding of industry expectations … policymakers will face challenges in developing the industry-changing policies required for a low-carbon future,” states the report.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.
The UK will no longer use unabated coal to generate electricity from October 2024, one year earlier than originally planned, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has announced.
The UK government is not on track to deliver on its promise to improve the environment within a generation and is failing to stem the tide of biodiversity loss, a damning new report from MPs has revealed.