Overall, UK emissions are down 43% compared to the 1990 baseline while the economy has grown significantly over the same period. However most of this is down to excellent progress in reducing emissions from electricity generation, while reductions in other sectors have stalled.
With the release of the Committee on Climate Change’s report today, Sasha Stashwick, Senior Advocate at the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), says the “UK’s strategy for biomass use in the electricity sector is now out of step with the realities of climate science, economics, and the needs of the UK power grid.”
“Coal-to-biomass conversions, which the UK government subsidises to the tune of over £700 million per year, have been shown to be costlier than genuine renewables like solar and wind, and not needed to ensure the reliability of a smart, low-carbon electricity system.
“UK policymakers have also made pitiably little progress in recognising the now nearly ubiquitous science on the impacts of biomass-burning on the climate. A chorus of independent voices, from researchers at MIT University, to think tanks like Chatham House and Bright Blue, and scientific bodies like the European Academies Science Advisory Council, all agree that much of the imported biomass currently being burned in power stations like that of Drax Power risks making climate change worse for many decades.
“They further agree that subsidies should only flow to a limited types of biomass fuel, which can produce climate benefits not in some distant future, but today. The Committee on Climate Change has now joined this chorus. Without meaningful reform, UK policies will continue to fail to ensure that British taxpayers are getting this most basic return on their investment, and that the UK can meet its climate goals.”