Does the U.K. government really think that renewable energy is a substitute for natural gas? | Jonathon Porritt

The press release is of the obligatory fluff that purports to tout some ostensible progress made by the U.K. in relation to global warming. Indeed, the most genuinely useful policy is that U.K. is…

Does the U.K. government really think that renewable energy is a substitute for natural gas? | Jonathon Porritt

The press release is of the obligatory fluff that purports to tout some ostensible progress made by the U.K. in relation to global warming. Indeed, the most genuinely useful policy is that U.K. is reducing the energy intensity of its economy – that is, it is using less energy for every unit of GDP. It is currently working on even more ambitious objectives, yet such a high rate of reduction would make U.K. a world leader in the production of power from renewable sources.

If reducing energy intensity is so important – saving energy is one of the less effective methods of reducing climate change – is there any purpose in trying to legislate policies that increase energy intensity? That is, is there anything logical in encouraging a business to strive to increase energy intensity – in other words, reduce what they already have?

In this vein, I note that the U.K. does produce power from coal, but so what? If we therefore do not want industries that are set up to produce energy-intensive goods, we should not subsidize them. But rather, encourage those that produce goods that are set up to be more energy-efficient, which would have the effect of reducing the burden of high energy costs on less energy-intensive industries. That is, if we want to reduce global warming, we must encourage research into technologies that can be implemented sooner, i.e. that produce less energy with the same inputs. Otherwise, we can only pretend that technological advances are moving at the speed of legislative.

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