The UK desperately needs a new energy strategy based on a realistic assessment of its assets, its needs and the options available to it. Unfortunately, its freedom for technical and financial manoevre is deeply restricted by its self-imposed Climate Change Act and its commitment to the EU's 20-20-20 targets. Its technically illiterate, if financially canny politicians and civil service do not appear to understand that the world's financiers are not likely to place the required £200 billion of long-term investment into their vision of a "low carbon" infrastructure while this concept remains so woolly and badly defined. If the UK government continues on this course, it will lead the country toward certain energy failure.

After hundreds of years of imperial and industrial power, the UK has suddenly become more or less powerless as a world player. With its North Sea resources fast depleting just when the world's upstream energy producers of oil, coal and gas are struggling to meet rising global demand, saddled with a public debt of £ 1 trillion, and a massive trade deficit, its leading role as an innovative, world-class centre of scientific and manufacturing know-how being ceded to Germany, Japan and now China, it is ill prepared to become a net energy importer. Yet energy import dependence is what the country is rapidly headed for.

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