MPs on the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) have warned the Government that, on its current course, the UK will fail to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets to provide 15% of its energy needs from renewable sources.
The overall obligation includes three sub-targets: 30% in electricity, 12% in heat and 10% in transport.
The UK is three-quarters of the way towards its 30% electricity sub-target and is expected to exceed it by 2020, but it is not yet halfway towards 12% in heat and the proportion of renewable energy used in transport actually fell last year, according to ECCC.
“The experts we spoke to were clear: the UK will miss its 2020 renewable energy targets without major policy improvements. Failing to meet these would damage the UK’s reputation for climate change leadership. The Government must take urgent action on heat and transport to renew its efforts on decarbonisation,” said Angus MacNeil, Energy and Climate Change Committee Chair.
MPs have also said that leaving the EU renders the status of the UK’s 2020 renewable energy targets uncertain, but the they believe that if the UK misses or reneges on these commitments, it will undermine confidence in the Government’s commitment to its legally binding 2050 carbon targets.
The Government must recommit to the 2020 targets or, if necessary, set replacement targets to support the longer-term decarbonisation objectives of the Climate Change Act, MPs have said.
MacNeil added: “We agreed our 2020 renewable energy targets as part of the EU but they still have many merits, even as the UK Government prepares for Brexit. If the UK reneges on these targets, it will undermine confidence in the Government’s commitment to clean energy and the climate targets agreed in Paris. Progress has been slow, but this must be taken as a call to action, not an excuse for backtrack.”