COP26 host’s plans to become fossil fuel-free

LONDON (CU)_Over the past few months, energy firms in the United Kingdom reached a breaking point as the consistent rise in wholesale gas prices start to make their businesses unprofitable. Nevertheless, reliance on fossil fuel to meet the country’s energy needs has declined to unprecedented levels, while investments in solar and wind power have surged to record levels.   

Now, with less than a month away from the UN climate talks (COP26), scheduled to be held in Glasgow, the government of United Kingdom announced an ambitious deadline to phase out fossil fuels and produce electricity only from renewable and nuclear sources. Participating in a conference of the ruling Conservative party earlier this week, Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng revealed that Britain hopes to become fossil fuel-free by 2035, as the country continues to lead the global climate effort as the host this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP). 

“What we’re saying is that by 2035 we won’t have any fossil fuels,” Kwarteng said, referring to power generation. “We’ll have removed gas hopefully, as well as coal.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also participated in the conference in Manchester, pointed out the fact that a bigger share of renewables and nuclear energy would also mean the country be less dependent on imports in this regard. “The advantage of that is that it will mean that, for the first time, the U.K. is not dependent on hydrocarbons coming from overseas with all the vagaries in hydrocarbon prices and the risk that poses for people’s pockets and for the consumer,” the British leader noted.

While the announcement attracted applause from environmental campaigners, the Change Committee advised the government that they also have to increase investment in carbon capture and storage technology, as reliance on gas also shouldn’t go unabated after 2035. Addressing his fellow Conservatives during the conference, Kwarteng vowed to present them with a plan this month to its net-zero emissions target by mid-century.

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