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Energy efficiency and renewables – faster, safer, than nuclear power, to move away from Russian fuel, and combat climate change.

 A recent paper by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change says reducing
our oil and gas consumption could be an important tool to help Europe
through the medium-term challenge of moving away from Russian energy.

There is a need to address energy demand now, according to Prof Nick Eyre,
director of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions at Oxford
University, both as a result of the Ukraine crisis and to tackle climate

Reducing demand and decarbonising our energy systems is something
we should be doing anyway for climate reasons, said Eyre, in order to meet
our targets for net zero. “This energy security and price crisis is
another prompt to do this,” he said. “It will be expensive – but a
windfall tax on companies who, at best, have had a pretty dubious
relationship with Russia, would help pay for it.”

Eyre said collective
action was needed, driven by government, who should bring forward immediate
detailed policies on decarbonising domestic heating in the UK. Domestic
heating produces about 14% of UK emissions, and decarbonising the way homes
are heated – meaning more efficient homes and the electrification of most
heating systems – would cost an estimated £200bn over the next 30 years,
according to the Institute for Government. Between now and 2050, emissions
from residential buildings need to fall to zero at a rate of 3.4% a year
based on current emission levels, according to the Department for Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Eyre believes any new energy supply policy
– expected to be announced by Boris Johnson in the coming days – will
make no sense if it does not include energy reduction measures and the
bringing forward of detailed plans to decarbonise our homes.

“If it’s
all about building nuclear power stations, this would take 10 years, so
it’s not a very sensible strategy,” said Eyre. “Energy efficiency and
renewable energy can provide what we need more quickly and less
dangerously.” Molly Scott Cato, former Green MEP and professor of
economics at the University of Roehampton, says the UK government should
launch a massive, nationwide, and publicly funded home insulation programme
backed up by information campaigns about how to use energy efficiently,
including reducing the thermostat settings on central heating systems and
introducing a 55mph speed limit on the national road network to cut energy

 Guardian 23rd March 2022

March 24, 2022 - Posted by | ENERGY, UK

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