As part of the Net Zero Coalition, the UK – along with more than 70 other countries – has committed to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. This goal was set out in the hopes of preventing global warming from reaching a point of no return. Experts have concluded that this point would be when the world reaches a 1.5C degree higher average world temperature than what the average was in the 1800s prior to the industrial revolution. To meet this goal, it is essential that enough substantial renewable energy sources are implemented to completely replace burning fossil fuels. The UK have stated that they will use more wind, solar, hydrogen and nuclear generated power to accomplish this, and great strides are already being made.

According to energy market experts EnAppSys, more energy was generated from wind turbines in the first quarter of 2022 than ever before, which has resulted in almost a third of all power generated in the UK coming from wind energy, almost amounting to the total power generated from gas burning power stations. As a consequence, the amount of energy generated from all renewable sources in the UK now exceeds the amount generated from gas and coal burning.

However, despite the clear improvements that are being made, it is still the case that in order to meet energy demands for the whole nation, non-renewable energy cannot be left behind just yet. On top of this, due to the sanctions the UK imposed on Russia in lieu of ongoing war occurring between Russia and Ukraine, the UK is looking for ways to compensate for its dependence on Russia-imported oil.

This has led to the UK allowing gas and oil drilling in the North Sea to increase to help meet demands. Treasury Secretary Simon Clarke stated “We need to get that production going to the maximum extent that we can. It simply would not be right to support Putin’s war in Ukraine by buying Russian oil and gas, but there are costs to that. We are very candid about that.”

Furthermore, to deal with the current energy crisis and to help reduce all-time high energy bills, the government is considering licensing the development of new gas and oil fields in the North Sea, which would only setback the nations advancements towards achieving net zero. The International Energy Agency advised in 2021 that no new fossil fuel exploration and development should take place from this year if we are to reach net zero targets and keep the world below the 1.5C degree increase limit.

Spokespersons from Cop26, BEIS and the Climate Change Committee have all suggested better solutions that involve prioritising the continuation of the implementation of new renewable energy sources whilst making efforts to improve energy efficiency for UK homes to reduce costs.

The bottom line is that the government has promised to reach net zero by 2050, but to reach net zero goals and continue to keep energy costs as low as possible, changes need to be made that aim to improve the efficiency of energy usage for all households in the UK. In addition to this, efforts until now to ramp up renewable energy production is a trend that needs to be sped up, not slowed down.