In just over five years, researchers warn that Britain will have run out of oil, coal and gas. A report by the Global Sustainability Institute said shortages would increase dependency on Norway, Qatar and Russia. The institute’s Professor Victor Anderson said there should be a “Europe-wide drive” towards wind, tidal, solar and other sources of renewable power.
The UK government says complete energy independence is unnecessary. Britain has just 5.2 years of oil, 4.5 years of coal and 3 years of gas remaining. In contrast, Russia has more than 50 years of oil, more than 100 years of gas and more than 500 years of coal left, based on current consumption. The report painted a varied picture across Europe, with Bulgaria having 34 years of coal left.
France fares even worse, with less than a year to go before it runs out of all three fossil fuels. Dr Aled Jones, the director of the institute said “heavily indebted” countries were becoming increasingly vulnerable to rising energy prices. “The EU is becoming ever more reliant on our resource-rich neighbours such as Russia and Norway, and this trend will only continue unless decisive action is taken,” he added.
Professor Anderson 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 UK government recently announced it was cutting subsidies for large scale solar energy and the Conservatives have said there will be no funding for new onshore wind farms if they win the next election.
The Global Sustainability Institute’s research covers environmental, societal economic challenges facing the world.