I awoke to the sound of a Radio 4 interview concerning CO2 reduction. A poor interview produced no figures, but left listeners with the opinion that China, the USA and others are doing more to cut their CO2 emissions than the UK. The Chancellor was wrong by implication to warn us that the UK is in danger of doing more CO2 reduction (by higher energy prices)than competitors which could just result in more of our industry going elsewhere. The UK was urged to do more.
I have found UN figures which tell us the story of the 20 year period from 1990-2010, the first 20 years of the Kyoto targets and the CO2 campaign. Over that time period US CO2 emissions rose by 20%, China’s by 165%, and the UK cut by 7.6%. Other comparable countries like Australia saw a 42% increase, Japan a 14% increase and France a 0.8% increase. Only Germany of the majors did more than the UK to cut its CO2 output.
In the last 3 years the US had developed a lot of cheaper shale gas which has helped cut its CO2 output. Doing it that way helps competitiveness, as it cuts energy costs. The UK is doing it the dear way, through renewables, which does the opposite. It puts prices up and means fewer industrial jobs in the UK.
I think the Chancellor was right to say the UK should not follow policies which simply divert good business from the UK to other centres. Policies which develop new cheaper sources of energy which also cut CO2 would be a good idea.