The UK Government’s overriding priorities with regards to energy policy are to deliver secure, reliable, clean, affordable energy. This presents policy-makers in Government with a ‘trilemma’: how can the UK decarbonise its energy system to meet the legally binding targets under the Climate Change Act and international commitments, whilst ensuring both security of supply and that energy is affordable for consumers? Panellists at the Policy Forum event held in November 2016, considered the dimensions of this ‘trilemma’, how this can be delivered upon in the context of the UK’s vote to leave the EU (‘Brexit’) and the importance of scale when designing energy policy.
Further background and context for the discussion can be found on the 21st Century Challenges blog, whilst all the outputs from the evening can be found on the past events page.
Burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change: Fossil fuels like coal and oil contain a high percentage of carbon and burning them releases carbon dioxide. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere resulting in global temperature rises. Rises in temperature increase the likelihood of extreme weather events such as storms, droughts, heat waves and floods. Changes in temperature can also impact on agriculture and food prices, infrastructure, human health and human and animal migration patterns.
Fossil fuels are running out: There is only a finite amount of coal, oil and natural gas in the world and supplies are running out.
Changing society: Much of society is reliant on fossil fuels so it can be hard for people to transition. Government, business and the public around the world need to work together to develop new low carbon technologies and transition to using them.
Lord John Browne, Member of House of Lords, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, former Chief Executive of BP.
Malcolm Wicks, MP for Croydon North, former Minister for Energy within the BERR.
Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the Science Museum, what he thought.
Audience Q&A at 'The future of low carbon energy'.
Featured image: American Public Power Association/Unsplash
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