Which is better: a carbon-neutral carbon cycle or an all-carbon energy mix?

The UK government is considering a carbon energy mix that is “far less polluting than conventional power stations”, a senior energy minister has told the BBC.

Energy minister Chris Huhne said a plan to switch to 100% renewable energy would have a “much better chance of success” in terms of reducing emissions than using fossil fuels alone.

The Government is considering how to use the $3bn that has been allocated to the Green Investment Fund (GIF), which is intended to help boost the economy, to fund the transition to a carbon free energy mix, the BBC’s Andrew Marr reports.

It is expected to start to deliver on the government’s goal of 80% of UK electricity from renewables by 2030.

The policy is aimed at giving the UK’s power sector the most ambitious targets in the world.

However, the Government has already faced criticism from some quarters that the plans are too ambitious and may even make things worse. 

Green energy minister Chris Whipple told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the plan would be far less polluter-friendly than using coal and other fossil fuels.

“It will mean much lower emissions than what we have today, it will mean lower prices for consumers, it means a lower carbon footprint for businesses, it is much more affordable to the public sector than what you’re seeing now,” he said.

Whipple said the Government would have to find “a balance between protecting the environment and creating jobs”.

“The green investment fund is a very expensive instrument for the UK to use, it’s only been used to provide funding to the UK for about seven years, so I think it’s a very important investment for the country.”

The Green Investment fund will help boost Britain’s green energy industry.

It aims to invest £8bn ($12bn) in green energy projects, according to the government.

Mr Huhne told Today that “there will be no carbon tax”, a reference to the £50bn-a-year carbon price, which the Government had previously said would not be implemented.

“We will have to make some decisions on how much we will spend on carbon emissions and how much of that will be funded by the carbon tax,” he told the programme.

Despite the pledge, some analysts believe the Government will not be able to meet its ambitious targets. 

“The Government is looking at a carbon economy that will require energy to be generated in a very low-carbon way, and the only way that will happen is with all of our fossil fuels,” said Andrew Macdonald, a professor at the University of Warwick.

According to the Climate Institute, the UK is already producing more than 10% of its electricity from coal, with nuclear also providing much of the UK grid.

The US is also struggling to meet the carbon emissions target it set for 2030, with President Donald Trump calling it a “total disaster”.

“If the government is going to be successful in getting a climate plan through the Parliament, they need to be prepared to do the maths and see what the cost is to our economy, our jobs, our energy supply and our climate,” said Ms Macdonald.

The Government has also made clear that the transition will be gradual.

It has not yet said when the transition could begin, and said it would only make an announcement if there were no other “further commitments” to meet by the end of 2020.

However, some observers have raised concerns that the Government’s plans could put the UK at a competitive disadvantage against other countries that are already planning to switch away from coal.

Green energy Minister Chris Huhn (L) with Secretary of State for Energy, Climate Change, Food and Rural Affairs (CfCRFA) Owen Paterson (R). 

“This is a long, complicated and potentially politically risky transition that will take a long time, with many other countries already moving in the right direction,” said the climate campaigner David Bell.

Ms Bell said that Britain was “in a race against time” to achieve its ambitious 2030 climate targets, saying: “If we fail to get the transition right in 2030 we risk losing our competitive advantage in the global race for clean energy.

I hope the Government understands that it will not make the transition in the way that it has promised it will and that it should not make it in the same way as other countries.”

Ms Macdonald said: “The Government needs to do what it needs to in the next few weeks and months to make sure that the UK meets its 2020 emissions target.

It has a massive economic opportunity to move our economy into the future, which is why it needs a new strategy.

If the Government wants to avoid another decade of energy poverty then it needs urgently to act to reduce emissions by 2035.”

Whilst the UK has been a vocal proponent of renewables, other countries are also making progress in their efforts to transition to carbon free electricity, including Norway and the US.  The