Renewable energy seem to be on the news all the time nowadays and – whether it’s the ongoing debate surrounding climate change, NIMBYism writ large with onshore wind turbines or alongside rising energy prices – we just can’t escape. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan laid out by Ed Miliband under the Labour Government sets out a target of 30% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, which seems admirable – but in reality, it doesn’t go far enough. Denmark has trumped this, and passed a law that calls for 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2050.
Before you read any further, a clarification – this is not, in any way, an argument for the need of a ‘low carbon’ economy on environmental grounds since, quite simply, the UK makes up 2% of global energy demand. Our proportion will only decrease as India, China, Pakistan, the whole of Africa and Latin America continue on their march towards modernity and, like we did in the 19th/20th century (and mainly continue to do), emphasise growth over the environment. We simply don’t matter in any conversation about emissions, especially when the US refuses to take basic action including signing the Kyoto Protocol or stalling the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009.