If someone asks: how could an athlete run the mile in 3 minutes?, it is arithmetically correct to reply: by running 30% faster. But this would not be a satisfactory answer.
And that’s the only way one can view accounts that purport to show how ‘Big Bill’ Barosso’s energy scheme for 2020 stack up.
Witness: one of CU’s top Sunday stories yesterday was an article on this report, snappily entitled Compliance Costs for Meeting the 20% Renewable Target in 2020. As a service to C@W readers I have sifted through its 156 pages of graphs, charts and tables. Now as we know, forecasts of this type are basically horoscopes with numbers: but what numbers they are !
▪ 52% of the renewables will be biofuels: wind-power a mere 10.6%. Sorry greenies, we’ll still be burning stuff.
▪ 70% of biofuels will be imports, mostly coming from maize, wheat and S.E.Asian palm oil – impact on food production not quantified. The report’s authors admit that further analysis is required as to whether global biofuels markets are up to this task. (They might like to ask whether would-be food eaters are up for it as well.)
▪ Although the UK’s ‘burden-share’ is to meet a mere 15% of energy demand from renewables, compared to the EU average of 20%, it will incur by far the most costs: € 5 to 6.7 billion p.a. by 2020, as compared to € 3 bn for each of France and Germany. (For aficionados of reality-checking, take a look at the graph at Fig 14 for implausibility.)
Lastly, this little gem: “the cost of complying with the transport [sector] obligation is 10 times higher than the cost of meeting the electricity and heating targets, and the carbon savings themselves are far less certain”.
Whoopee. As we’ve said many times before, if any of this is going to happen there would need to be some serious signs of massive efforts being taken right now. Which we don’t see …