Lauded internationally for reducing its coal dependency and cleaning up its economy, the United Kingdom’s energy transition has a dirty little secret: biomass. Misclassified as renewable and carbon free, tallying the biodiversity and environmental impacts of burning biomass depends on nuance: how tight the regulations are, how fast a forest can grow back, and how well you can tweak your numbers. Now the world leader in burning trees to make electricity, scientific evidence is piling up questioning biomass’ claims to climate neutrality. A new study by energy thinktank Ember, The Burning Question, alongside other ongoing citizen climate campaigns, demands London curtails future subsidies while tightening biomass’ dubious carbon loophole. L. Michael Buchsbaum reports.
Covid-19 spread shows up vulnerability at heart of nuclear programmes, with resilience of UK critical national infrastructures undermined. The coronavirus’ effects act as threat multiplier, as David Lowry explains.
The modern world depends on the smooth provision of vital services such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, food, water and healthcare. But the systems underpinning these sectors are increasingly complex and interdependent, interacting at a global scale – which makes them susceptible to potentially catastrophic failures when they come under stress. David Flynn and Valentin Robu report
Brexite is a major threat to Europe’s climate targets. The energy supply would also change – to the detriment of the British population. Nina Locher asks whether energy poverty and economic injustice could be prevented by stable British-European cooperation.
Germany is often cited as Europe’s renewable energy wunderkind, and indeed many of its laurels are well deserved. But it is no means alone on the cutting edge of climate protection, and indeed of late the Teutons have fallen behind in places. Other European countries excel in specific areas, offering best practices for the rest of the continent and beyond. In the final analysis, though, the meta-champion is the EU, says Paul Hockenos.
The United Kingdom’s embattled Prime Minister, Theresa May, promised on Friday that “Brexit will not be a race to the bottom” for the country as she spoke at Danish energy giant Orsted’s offshore wind factory in Grimsby, heralding the importance of offshore wind to the future of the country a day after her government had launched its long-awaited Offshore Wind Sector Deal. Joshua Hill takes a look.
Despite years of fierce opposition, fracking has returned to the UK. And if the government has its way, safety standards meant to protect communities from earthquakes will be relaxed to help out the shale industry. L. Michael Buchsbaum takes a look at what’s happening in Lancashire.
The UK’s energy transition picks up speed: onshore and offshore wind power rose by 34% last year in the UK compared to 2016, new government statistics show. Jocelyn Timperley takes an in-depth look at the data.