UK has only 'five years of fossil fuels left', study claims

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
21 May 2014

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21 May 2014 | Will Green

The UK has just five years’ supply of fossil fuels remaining if the effects of imports are stripped out, according to a study.

The Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) at Anglia Ruskin University has calculated the energy resources available to countries worldwide based on consumption and levels of domestic reserves of oil, gas and coal.

The GSI said the UK has 5.4 years of oil, 4.5 years of coal and three years of gas remaining. Germany has more than 250 years of coal remaining but less than a year of oil and just two years of gas. Meanwhile, France has less than a year’s worth of oil, gas and coal.

By comparison, Russia has more than 50 years of oil, over 100 years of gas and in excess of 500 years of coal, based on current levels of consumption.

Dr Aled Jones, GSI director, said: “These maps show vulnerability in many parts of the EU and they paint a picture of heavily-indebted European economies coming under increasing threat from rising global energy prices.  

“It is vital that those shaping Europe’s future political agenda understand our existing economic fragility. The EU is becoming ever more reliant on our resource-rich neighbours such as Norway and Russia, and this trend will only continue unless decisive action is taken.”

Professor Victor Anderson, visiting professor at the GSI, said: “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives. The UK urgently needs to be part of a Europe-wide drive to expand renewable energy sources such as wave, wind, tidal, and solar power.”

The Department of Energy and Climate Change described the premise of the report as “nonsense”.

“The UK is one of the most energy secure countries in the world thanks to the combination of our own reserves, our diverse sources of imported energy and our focus on increasing clean, homegrown energy in the UK – which includes nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage,” said a spokesman.

“As well as attracting record investment into our energy security since 2010, the UK is leading globally on energy security, particularly through the G7, which has agreed to take global action to improve energy security, and in getting a deal in the EU to cut carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030.”



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