Energy white paper delayed as government warned on carbon budgets

Business and Energy Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, has revealed that the UK’s energy white paper remains a work in progress and will now not be published until Q1 2020.

Leadsom was speaking with the BEIS Committee on 15 October, where she assured that it was her department’s “number one priority” to hit the country’s net zero target, adding that a number of different approaches were under consideration. This includes the levels of renewables and nuclear in the mix along with the results of consultations into nuclear and carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), which are being taken into account.

However, despite Leadsom’s assurances, the government has been told to shift its focus to getting carbon budgets on track and creating policies to enable net zero, by industry experts.

Speaking at the Energy UK conference on 16 October, Poppy Billington, Director of UK100, warned that neither policies nor politics were enabling net zero to happen, despite the need for the UK to act fast. Target dates to hit net zero proposed by the likes of Labour (2030) and Extinction Rebellion (2025) had become political rather than scientific, explained Billington, who added if the time and effort being spent on Brexit was shifted to climate, progress might actually be made.

Meanwhile, Shell UK’s Energy Transition Manager, Jo Coleman suggested a key course of action moving forward was to get the country back on track to meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets.

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