Select Committee on Science and Technology Fourth Report


THE ENERGY WHITE PAPER

215. The Energy White Paper, published on 24 February 2003, has been long-awaited, not least by ourselves. Sir David King told us that the aim of reducing emissions to 60% of their 1990 levels by 2050 was new and a very real objective.[357] It is a very admirable objective but we were looking for some very real policies to give us confidence that the objective was achievable. We have looked in vain. Brian Wilson was right to say that it is not all about new funding, but new funding and new incentives are still very important.[358] He told us that it firmly restated the target of 10% renewable generation by 2010.[359] We expected more than restated aims. While we agree with many of its sentiments, we remain disappointed with the White Paper, largely because that is what it is, a document full of sentiments with few practical policy proposals that give us any confidence that its targets (and aspirations) can be met. It has ducked a central issue—whether to provide a future for the nuclear power industry—and failed to give a lead. On the specific issue of RD&D, it makes all the right noises but fails to pledge any further investment nor provide any further direct incentives to industry to do so. RD&D investment in the UK is set to remain at the bottom of the international league table.


357   Q 567 Back

358   Q 567 Back

359   Q 561 Back


 
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Prepared 3 April 2003