The UN’s chief environment scientist has rapped the UK on the wrist for its current renewable energy policy, calling it perverse.
In an interview with BBC News, Professor Jacqueline McGlade, the Chief Scientist to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), criticized the current Government’s stance towards renewable energy, and noted that the current state of the industry sent a worrying signal to those who will be attending the UN climate summit in Paris next month.
The UK Government is in the process of rolling back several renewable energy support policies, including the popular and successful Renewables Obligation scheme for onshore wind. A number of campaigns and organizations have reprimanded and criticized the UK for such actions, including a joint letter signed by ministers from both Scotland and Wales calling for the UK Government to open discussion into its support for renewable energy.
Speaking to BBC News, Professor McGlade said that the UK has abandoned its leadership on climate change at the same time as 150 nations were making major shifts towards clean energy.
“What I’m seeing worldwide is a move very much towards investment in renewable energy. To counterbalance that you see the withdrawal of subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels,” Professor McGlade said. “What’s disappointing is when we see countries such as the United Kingdom that have really been in the lead in terms of getting their renewable energy up and going — we see subsidies being withdrawn and the fossil fuel industry being enhanced.”
This is sending the wrong message to other nations in the lead-up to the Paris UN summit next month, she said, adding that “It’s a very serious signal — a very perverse signal that we do not want to create.”