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  • UN Punishes Britain For Cutting Expensive Green Subsidies

    The U.N. slashed Britain’s energy policy rating Wednesday after the U.K. cut subsidies to expensive green energy technologies.

    The U.N.-accredited World Energy Council (WEC) pulled the coveted triple-A rating following the British government’s decision to cut renewable energy subsidies. The WEC said that uncertainty in the renewable sector since the election is sending risk averse green energy investors to other markets, according to the BBC. Britain was downgraded to AAB, still leaving them with the fourth best global energy rating, while the U.S. ranks twelfth, behind countries like France and Canada.

    Pressure from climate scientists at the U.N. likely played a role in the WEC decision. Many at the U.N. have been alarmed with Britain’s recent move away from investment in green energy so close to December’s climate summit in Paris. In October, the U.N.’s chief environment scientist Jacquie McGlade lambasted Britain for cutting renewable subsidies while increasing investments in their domestic shale industry, reports BBC News.

    “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that have really been in the lead in terms of getting their renewable energy up and going – we see subsidies being withdrawn and the fossil fuel industry being enhanced,” said McGlade. “It’s a very serious signal – a very perverse signal that we do not want to create.”

    Britain’s domestic energy industry has been in recent turmoil, largely due to the expensive nature of green technologies like solar and wind. The U.K. has had to start investing in high polluting diesel generators to ensure adequate backup power for its power grid due to the unreliability of renewable energy, according to The Financial Times.

    The British government argues they are simply trying to reduce the expense to taxpayers and has maintained their commitment to reducing carbon emissions and reaching an agreement in Paris.

    A spokesperson for the U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change said, “We are absolutely committed to getting a global deal in Paris, which will create a level playing field for businesses, driving innovation and growing the low-carbon economy.”

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