The last year there has been a significant swing back towards oil and gas, with the introduction of Fracking by the UK government and the abolition of the Department of Energy and climate change. In the US saw the election of Donald Trump who is a vocal climate change denier and several officials appointed by himself who are also vocal in support of the oil industry and deny that man exasperates climate change.

Global efforts have seen significant improvements to tackle climate change, with ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement by the UK, US, and China plus many others.

But what does 2017 have in store for energy, environment, and climate change?

UK events

The Committee of Climate Change is currently preparing to submit its final evidence ahead of the UK Climate Risk Assessment this month. Planning for a 5-year-cycle, the seminar will discuss several policy priorities for climate change adaptation. The sessions will raise the issue of flood and infrastructure strategy, following the ring-fencing of £2.3bn in flood defence spending up to 2021. Following a critical report by the Parliamentary Built Environment Committee on land use and long-term housing goals, an examination on the issues that surround urban planning and overheating.

Ahead of its review in 2018, delegates will also highlight priorities for the National Adaptation Programme.

The session will include management of key infrastructure assets, addressing the risks of climate change to ecosystem services and to public health, and the opportunities to integrate sustainable planning into business practices.

There will also be an event ‘Policy priorities for renewable energy in England’ held in May, which will be a seminar on key issues for the UK renewables sector, that includes meeting the renewable generation and carbon budget targets set by the UK Government and the sector’s place in the UK energy mix going forward.

Following a report by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee that found the government wasn’t being clear on the benefit of smart meters. Policy UK are holding an event on ‘Delivering the Smart Meter Rollout’, which will involve public engagement, meeting the 2020 deadline, and building a smart energy system.

Key points include customer awareness, promoting the benefits, and involving the Private Sector, overcoming Delays, Promoting IoT & allaying fears on security of data, smart Homes + smart grids = smarter Market.

Global events

Following the international success of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Kigali Agreement, the 2nd International Conference on Energy, Environment, and Climate Change (ICEECC) will take place in Mauritius on 5 – 7th July. The first took place in 2015 and it is a peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary international conference on sustainable energy and environment.

The focus will be on “energy production and management, green energy, environmental engineering, environmental management, climate change and sustainable development.” The forum will provide an opportunity to exchange the latest technical information, disseminate the high-quality research results, present new developments within the area, and discuss future global development on energy access and security along with the associated environmental impacts.

Working globally and nationally

The UK isn’t doing enough and the government needs to work with the international community to combat the effects of climate change, that is so often devastating for developing and third-world nations. Working with the global community is vital but so is addressing the domestic issues such as the UK’s energy infrastructure and flood defence for the worst affected communities.

2016 saw some important successes but it was the UK’s government that was so often behind the rest of the world, and 2017 will hopefully see a change in attitude from Theresa May.