❝ Plummeting coal use in 2015 led to a fall of 4% in the UK’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, according to government energy statistics published on Thursday. Coal is now burning at its lowest level in at least 150 years.
The closing of old polluting coal-power stations and the rapid rise in renewable energy meant coal consumption fell by 22% compared to 2014, the biggest drop ever seen outside of miners’ strikes, according to analysts at Carbon Brief. Production of coal in the UK also fell to a new record low, dropping by 27% due to mines closing.
The rapid decline in coal use is continuing in 2016, with four more stations closed in the last fortnight, including Longannet, Ferrybridge and Eggborough, leaving six operational. The government has pledged to close all coal plants by 2025 to help meet climate change targets…
❝ Renewable electricity generation surged in 2015, rising by 29%, allowing it to claim a record 25% share of all electricity. Most of this came from wind power and bioenergy, the latter being boosted by the continued conversion of Drax – once the UK’s biggest coal plant – to burning wood pellets…
Solar power increased by 50% in 2015 to make up 9% of all renewable electricity. The government has been repeatedly criticised for cutting support for renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes.
❝ “If anything is to blame for tight margins, it’s previous governments’ history of incoherent energy policy,” said Paul Massara, former CEO of “big six” energy company RWE npower. “Investors need long-term clarity on policy, and they simply have not been getting it.”
“Look outside the UK and it’s clear that the direction of travel in is only in one direction, towards primarily low-carbon, flexible, smart energy systems,” said Andrew Garrad, senior consultant at DNV GL energy. “It’s been accelerated by the Paris climate agreement, and Britain is by no means ahead of the pack in this transition.”
Climate change deniers who turn their backs on truth will now add life’s day-to-day realities to the mix. Life is getting better, The air is getting cleaner. And I guess they will claim that lowered emissions, less pollution, is somehow bad for us.
Bad for their wallets? A few. Maybe.