Over the past month Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to allow over 100 new oil and gas licences in the North Sea, his government is accused of failing to support the UK offshore wind industry while the business secretary, Kemi Badenoch, has suggested that the 2030 electric vehicle mandate could be watered down - all raising doubts about the government’s commitment to its own green pledges.
Badenoch’s suggestion that the zero-emissions vehicle mandate to phase out petrol and diesel engine cars could be amended failed to mention the fact that the UK government is not providing adequate infrastructure or the capacity for the growth of electric vehicles.
A new study from Juniper Research suggests that it’s the lack of public infrastructure that’s severely limiting EV adoption in urban environments and that present initiatives from governments are not sufficient to accelerate EV adoption.
Ministers are also now shifting their stance over what they are calling ‘anti-motorist’ policies such as council’s ability to impose speed limits, while the prime minister has ordered a review of low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) – despite Boris Johnson’s government spending £200m on such schemes.
With soaring costs Britain is now also facing a crisis in its offshore energy programme with critics warning that without an urgent overhaul of government support, the construction of new sites might prove to be economically unviable under the existing regime.
Inflation has caused massive problems for the industry, but the government has failed to adjust the scheme used that guarantees the price paid for energy. To be fair it’s been trying to hold down electricity prices through the contract for difference (CfD) scheme that’s intended to ensure investors have the confidence to continue investing but, nonetheless, it all adds to the confusion that appears to surround the government’s approach to climate change and the adoption of greener energy policies.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of raging fires across the Mediterranean and warnings about changes to weather systems that could have cataclysmic implications for global food production.
This UK government is beginning to get a reputation for doing the bare minimum when it comes to addressing pollution and promoting a green agenda.
In fact, in the past few weeks, the Sunak administration – well funded by the oil and gas industry and by climate deniers – now appears to have taken a course of action that looks to undermine its own climate programmes.