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HM Government: Policy Review

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Environment and Energy

The origin of the UK's energy supplies is changing. By 2020, the UK will be importing the majority of its gas and more than half its oil. Like other major energy-using countries, the UK is also set to become more dependent on a small number of suppliers in less stable parts of the world. Around a third of the country's electricity generation capacity will need to be replaced by 2025.

At the same time, it is increasingly apparent that there is an extra cost to the exploitation of fossil fuels and natural resources and the changes in land use from which much of the global economy has drawn its income. The scientific advice is clear - human activity is altering our climate and, with it, the systems that support life on Earth.

These challenges should be tackled together. Promoting energy efficiency can reduce our dependence on energy while reducing our carbon emissions. Developing renewable technologies such as wind power has the potential to dramatically decrease our impact on the climate while lowering our demand for fossil fuels. Energy security and climate change are not independent threats.

But to achieve our goals, everyone will need to play their part. The element common to both the energy security and climate change threats is the need for early and sustained action. Individuals, businesses, communities, government and the wider international community need to come together quickly to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions. This paper outlines how every part of society can play its part in achieving our long term goals.

The Government's role in coordinating these efforts and providing a framework for action is particularly crucial. This paper argues that the Government needs to incentivise and support action by

It emphasises the importance of agreements at European and international level but also that the strength of the UK's position is based on its domestic performance.

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