The UK government will oppose attempts to set a new renewable energy target within the EU, in a move that could put at risk tens of billions of pounds of green investment and tens of thousands of new jobs.
The EU's flagship scheme for cutting carbon emissions suffered one of the most serious setbacks in its chequered history on Tuesday (16 April), when MEPs voted against a proposal to shore up the price of carbon in the Emissions Trading System (ETS).
There should be no new taxes on energy within the EU, and current taxes should not be raised, if prices are to be kept competitive with rivals fuelled by cheap shale gas in the US, the EU's energy chief has told the Guardian.
Coal is likely to rival oil as the world's biggest source of energy in the next five years, with potentially disastrous consequences for the climate, according to the world's leading authority on energy economics.
Poor countries have won historic recognition of the plight they face from the ravages of climate change, wringing a pledge from rich nations that they will receive funds to repair the "loss and damage" incurred.
Some of the companies that have complained loudest about the EU's environmental measures are using the EU's Emissions Trading System (ETS) to give money to rivals in other countries instead of cutting their own greenhouse gas emissions, it has emerged.
The United Kingdom cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than any other European country in 2011, over-achieving on targets under the Kyoto protocol on climate change. Some of the reduction was owing to milder weather and an increase in renewable energy generation, but the sluggish economy is also likely to have contributed.
Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by even more than previously thought, according to new data analysed by the Guardian newspaper, casting doubt on whether the world can avoid dangerous climate change.
The biggest reforms to the UK energy sector in two decades were set out yesterday (22 May), prompting warnings from consumer groups and green campaigners that they would raise bills and penalise renewable energy while boosting nuclear power.
Ministers have been advised to allow the controversial practice of fracking for shale gas to be extended in Britain, despite it causing two earthquakes and the emergence of serious doubts over the safety of the wells that have already been drilled.
The UK government wants nuclear power to be given parity with renewables in Europe, in a move that would significantly boost atomic energy in Britain but downgrade investment in renewable generation, according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian newspaper.
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