The UK and France will run out fossil fuels in the next few years, according to researchers from the Global Sustainability Institute, who says dependency will be shifted, in particular, to Norway, Qatar and Russia.
The researchers, working out of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, say that Britain has just over five years of oil, four and a half years of coal and three years of gas left on current consumption, as reported by the BBC. France’s fossil fuels are even less. In contrast, Russia has more than 50 and 100 years for oil and gas respectively with 500 years of coal left. These numbers all varied across different countries in Europe.
“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,” said Dr Aled Jones, director of the Global Sustainability Institute.
Professor Victor Anderson echoed his colleague’s remarks saying that “Coal, oil and gas resources in Europe are running down and we need alternatives.”
He added: “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.”
Unsurprisingly, the study has its critics, including Jim Skea, a Research Councils fellow in UK Energy Strategy. “This sounds very unlikely. What’s more, it’s irrelevant – the UK has a stable supply of imported energy, even if it is a good idea to increase our own supplies.”
In recent years, the UK government has been exploring new fuel sources with particular attention to fracking. The UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change described the new report as “nonsense.”
“The UK is one of the most energy secure countries in the world thanks to the combination of our own reserves, our diverse sources of imported energy and our focus on increasing clean, homegrown energy in the UK – which includes nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage,” said a spokesperson from the department.