Two steps forward, one step back: UK touts zero carbon future but backs fossils

UK touts zero carbon future

Creative Commons: Lee Davy, 2014

The UK government made history this week, when it took the first step towards enshrining the Paris goal of a zero emissions future into law.

But just days after the announcement it is accused of not putting “enough fuel in the tank to get us there”, as it delivered a 2016 Budget that continues to prop up an ailing oil and gas industry to the tune of £1 billion.

While there was some good news in the budget for the low-carbon future, including new funding for renewables and additional support for flood defences, it appears the Chancellor didn’t get the “memo about the government’s plan to build a net-zero emission economy”.

Beyond missing the memo, the Chancellor isn’t hearing the countless calls from all sectors of society, including think-tanks, conservative MPs and even the big energy industry, demanding the government invest in the energy infrastructure of the future.

If the UK truly aims to lead the world in “translating the Paris agreement into domestic policy”its long-term vision will need stronger short-term policies so it can cash in on the huge benefits this transition has to offer.

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