Tuesday, May 29th 2012, 4:34 AM EDT
Coal and gas emissions targets have been abandoned, by sleight of hand, to the inferno of the energy bill
Energy policy in the United Kingdom looks like a jam factory hit by a meteorite: a multicoloured pool of gloop studded with broken glass. Consider these two press releases, issued by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last week.
Tuesday: the government's new energy bill will help the UK to "move away from high carbon technologies". Wednesday: applications for new oil and gas drilling in the North Sea have "broken all previous records". This is "tremendous news for industry and for the UK economy".
The government knows that these positions are irreconcilable. Natural gas is mainly used for producing electricity. The draft energy bill, launched last week, says that if the government's legal obligation to cut 80% of greenhouse gases by 2050 is to be met, electricity plants "need to be largely decarbonised by the 2030s". (This is a subtle slippage from December's Carbon Plan, which said 2030). The only hope of reconciliation lies in the universal deployment of carbon capture and storage: technology which removes the carbon dioxide emanating from power stations and buries it. But the government has made it clear that it does not believe this is going to happen.
Click to read FULL report from George Monbiot