Four major British denominations have warned that the government’s draft energy bill would set the United Kingdom up for failure on carbon targets.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Quakers in Britain and the United Reformed Church have warned that, in its current form, the bill undermines the government’s commitment to meet the U.K.’s carbon targets.

They say that more green jobs could be created by a stronger commitment to sustainable, secure and affordable renewable energy.

The draft bill will encourage the building of more coal- and gas-fired power stations and would allow high levels of carbon emissions from power stations until 2045.

The Committee on Climate Change has advised the British government that the power sector must be substantially decarbonized by 2030 in order to achieve the U.K.’s carbon targets.

“This bill has far-reaching implications and puts the government’s green credentials on trial,” said Rev. Mark Wakelin, speaking on behalf of the four denominations.

“The government’s verbal commitments on climate change are undermined by the proposals in the draft bill. It will encourage a new dash for gas, could allow new investment in coal and sets the U.K. up for failure on its carbon targets.”

The denominations’ warning follows correspondence between senior leaders of the four denominations and Ed Davey, minister of Parliament and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.

Davey outlined opportunities for new coal and gas power stations. The Committee on Climate Change has stated that these plans are likely to cause Britain to fail in future carbon budgets.

A study conducted by the World Wide Fund for Nature shows that the U.K. could achieve at least 60 percent of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2030.

The denominations are calling on all political parties to make a clearer commitment to renewable energy. They point out that further significant growth in the renewables sector will require greater certainty on investment returns.

They want to see the Committee on Climate Change’s recommendation of a 2030 decarbonization target incorporated into the bill.

“A renewables-based energy system is realistic and achievable,” said Wakelin, president of the Methodist Conference.

“But the draft bill lacks the ambition needed to generate green jobs in the renewable energy sector,” he said. “As Christians, we believe that we are all called to protect and sustain our planet and ecosystem for future generations.”

This article appeared originally in The Baptist Times of Great Britain.

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