A Christian charity campaigning to find nature-based solutions to the global climate emergency has condemned the government’s new energy strategy, calling it “utterly irresponsible.”
Speaking to Premier Christian News, the head of nature conservation charity A Rocha UK, Andy Atkins, said the new plan published before Easter did not engage with what the government’s “own scientists are telling them about the seriousness of the urgency of action on climate change.”
Published by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, the energy plan, “Powering up Britain” has come under criticism by A Rocha UK for imagining a future not that different to the present: one that is reliant on oil and gas.
Mr Atkins says climate change and burning coal and gas and oil are “absolutely, incontrovertibly” linked:
“Two years ago, the head of the International Energy Agency, on the basis of decades of science and projections about what burning fossil fuel is doing to our atmosphere, said the world needs to stop developing any more fossil fuels from 2021 to have any chance of keeping global temperatures at a level approximately safe for humans in the decades to come.”
“We've already passed that point”, Andy Atkins added. “And the British government and so many others continue to develop fossil fuels.”
The government’s plan suggests that the UK will be able to continue extracting fossil fuels without undermining commitments to net zero by spending up to £20 billion on as yet undeveloped carbon capture technology (CCT).
The CCT process involves capturing carbon dioxide emissions as fossil fuels are burned, and locking them in underground storage, such as the bottom of the North Sea.
“This is extremely dangerous, because the technology does not yet exist to do that at scale”, Andy Atkins added. “Whereas the solutions to cut our carbon now are available in renewable energy, in energy efficiency”, he continued.
“Many of us as Christians who care about people's well-being, as well as about the beauty of God's creation which is affected by climate change, would rather the government got with a massive rollout of energy efficiency in homes, which would do so much more to cut our carbon emissions”.