On the evening of Tuesday, April 15th, Professor Philip Wright tried to answer this question at a well-attended public lecture to the Yorkshire Philosophical Society held in the Tempest Anderson Hall in York. He was invited to address the Society as part of its series of lectures on Controversy and Risk and he demonstrated that the UK appears to have three looming energy problems: the prospect of very substantial import requirements for both oil and gas; the implications which this has for the country’s balance of payments and considerable uncertainty about the adequacy and cost of our future electricity supplies. As he also told BBC Radio York in an interview before the lecture, neither nuclear power nor generation using renewables can address the electricity problem within the next eight years. However, there is considerable scope to make the inevitable continuing dependence on fossil fuels more sustainable by tackling the demand for fuels, particularly where it has been growing most rapidly: within the home, air transport and road freight. He also pointed out that the only effective climate change policy which the country has had in recent years has not been fashioned by the government but rather by the replacement of coal and oil consumption with gas (which has lower CO2 emissions) and by the decline in manufacturing industry.
About the YPS
Yorkshire Philosophical Society was formed in 1822 to pursue the study of natural sciences. The British Association for the Advancement of Science was founded with the help of the Society and had its inaugural meeting at the Yorkshire Museum in 1831.