We have a short-term goal of cutting our CO2 emissions by 26 per cent and delivering 15 per cent of our total energy from renewable sources by 2020, and a longer-term one of reducing CO2 emissions by between 60 and 80 per cent by 2050.
These UK targets will be overlaid by legally binding targets at EU level, to be achieved by 2020.
Much of the responsibility for achieving these ambitious targets will fall on the energy supply industry at a time when it is replacing around a third of its current capacity (or 23.5GW) as coal and nuclear plants reach end of life. In addition, the need to provide back up capacity for wind generation could require further substantial investment.
Changing to a low-carbon economy, a task which will also be faced by the transport sector, comes with costs and consequences. Most important of these is an obligation to ensure targets are met in a way that keeps our heating and light affordable and protects security of supply. That is vital, for the co