UK energy policy
This is so that we generate clean renewable energy in harmony with nature. We're also campaigning for strong action to stop energy waste.
The Climate Change Act
In 2008, the UK passed its Climate Change Act and became the first country in the world with a legal duty to meet an annual carbon budget.
The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 also includes legally binding targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and this Act is being revised in 2017.
These landmark laws were achieved largely thanks to the tireless campaigning efforts of Stop Climate Chaos, now known as The Climate Coalition in the UK, and Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, – a coalition of more than 100 organisation including the RSPB, Women's Institute, WWF, UNISON, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and Christian Aid.
Now the UK is currently heading off course for meeting the targets in the Act so we are urging the UK and devolved governments to live up to their commitments. We are calling on them to deliver an ambitious Clean Growth Plan to meet our climate targets and a green Industrial Strategy which delivers a strong renewable energy industry and embeds energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy. In Scotland we are calling for an ambitious Climate Change Plan and Scottish Energy Strategy.
All these plans must be delivered in harmony with nature and we are using evidence from the RSPB’s 2050 Energy Vision to show how this can be done.
What we believe
We believe it's possible to deliver a clean, green energy future in harmony with nature.
To avoid damaging climate change, the UK needs to switch from fossil fuels to 100 per cent low-carbon energy by 2050.
We know renewable energy developments can harm wildlife if badly sited and that these conflicts can also delay the roll-out of renewable energy developments. The RSPB’s landmark 2050 Energy Vision, developed by RSPB conservation scientists and policy experts, shows the UK’s 2050 climate targets can be delivered in harmony with nature, with high levels of renewable energy. To achieve this vision, we are calling on governments to identify suitable sites for renewable energy development which have a low risk for wildlife and we’ve developed a mapping technique to show how this can be done.
Using energy more efficiently is one of the cheapest, most effective and nature-friendly ways to slash greenhouse gas emissions. We believe saving energy should be a priority for our governments – and for everyone. We are calling for measures to cut energy use across the UK economy. To help people take action in their homes, such as insulating lofts and walls, we believe our governments should offer far more financial support and advice.
Exciting new technologies such as floating offshore wind turbines could deliver large amounts of clean energy in places which have a lower impact on wildlife but more research is needed to develop them and to understand their wildlife impacts.
At the same time we are exploring opportunities with energy companies to demonstrate how it is possible to deliver projects which produce renewable energy and create great places for wildlife to live. For example, we are currently working in partnership with Anesco, one of the country’s leading solar energy companies, to help nature flourish on their sites across the country by helping them integrate and manage wildlife features through habitat enhancement plans.
In more depth
Coal and carbon capture and storage
Coal continues to be a major energy source in the UK, generating about a third of our electricity supply.
Shale gas and fracking
‘Fracking’ shale gas threatens to undermine the UK’s commitments to fighting climate change and protecting nature.
We support the development of solar power and other forms of renewable energy to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Wave and tidal power
The seas around the UK offer an almost inexhaustible source of energy that can be used to generate electricity.