We are all aware how climate change, resulting from the use of fossil fuels and their carbon emissions, presents a significant global environmental challenge.The positive news is that the transition of the energy sector – from one that is heavily reliant on fossil fuels and a culprit in environmental pollution – is already underway.
Guernsey has provided its own vision for the future, as the Energy Policy, which was agreed in July, identifies that the vast majority of the Island’s supplies will come from clean, low carbon sources by 2050 and any residual emissions have to be offset. An interim target of a reduction in emissions of 57% has already been established for the end of this decade.
This proposition to legislate a net zero target for greenhouse gas emissions is welcomed by Guernsey Electricity. It provides a clear direction and mandate for allocating an appropriate weighting to environmental sustainability within long-term planning for capital investment.
In its published Climate Change Statement, Guernsey Electricity is ready to lead the way in this transition to clean energy. It has taken steps to reduce its emissions by 80% compared with 1990 levels and set a goal of phasing out carbon emissions from on-Island generation of electricity by 2025 through the installation of a second importation cable from France.
In April 2018, a new carbon emissions reporting system was introduced which allows for the disclosure of all greenhouse gas emissions, rather than just carbon, as in the past. This aligns with the European best practice guidelines and requirements outlined in the Paris Agreement which came into force this year. Such a level of reporting can only serve to boost efforts for environmental sustainability across businesses and industry.
A key area of Guernsey’s Energy Policy is the requirement for a conscientious use of on-island natural resources. The objective is to safeguard the healthy environment and clean air, whilst protecting Guernsey’s unique surroundings, biodiversity, and natural beauty. Guernsey Electricity believes the integration of environmental factors such as climate change and nature management is vital given the failure of climate change mitigation is identified as the number one risk over the next 10 years, according to the World Economic Forum 2020 risk report.
Many of the changes in the energy system are already taking place and Guernsey is on a fundamental journey of transition. The Energy Policy provides evidence that it is aligning itself with global efforts to reduce emissions and development of renewable technologies.
Given the threat of climate change, this transition is hugely important in maintaining the momentum towards a cleaner, greener Island.