New EU energy package lacks vision, but UK government threatens new dark age, say Greens

The European Commission has this week issued a new series of legislative proposals on the future energy policy of the European Union. Greens say the proposals fall well short of what is needed to keep global warming to below 2 degrees, as agreed by the Paris Agreement on climate change. Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, said:

The Commission’s proposals reveal a lack of vision and put the brakes on renewable energy ambition while continuing to subsidise fossil fuels and granting privileges to nuclear power. Greens will do their upmost to strengthen these proposals when they come before the European Parliament and do our very best to raise ambition for future decades.

“The UK government has shown itself complicit in this weak approach. Instead of being a beacon showing leadership on a genuine energy transition, it is leading the country towards a new energy dark age, which prioritises nuclear power, fossil fuels and fracking.  

“Hinkley is a monumental error, and both the UK government and the European Commission are to blame for committing the UK to this economically illiterate, technically flawed and environmentally risky project. The Commission should never have allowed a gigantic subsidy for building and operating Hinkley C and the UK government should never have kowtowed to the Chinese to lever in cash.   

“Brexit could offer the opportunity for the UK to become a global leader in the green transition we so desperately need to tackle dangerous climate change and meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement. This is why last week, ahead of the Autumn statement, I launched Greening Brexit, a bold investment plan to bring about such a transition. The flagship would be a massive, nationwide home retrofit insulation programme, insulating 9 million homes, lifting 2 million households out of fuel poverty, and creating well over 100,000 jobs.

“We also know that the UK has the best renewable energy resources of any country in Europe, yet is lagging behind countries like Germany due to a lack of political will and a cocktail of government policies which have undermined the renewables sector. In my constituency of the South West, we have the potential to generate more than 100% of our energy needs through renewables. Where this energy is produced and owned by communities it is the ultimate way for people to take back control.”