In the middle of April, the UK Energy Bill received “Royal Assent” and became law. This was a fairly fast move, as the bill was only introduced to Parliament in November 2009. The Energy Act 2010 includes two fairly significant components. One is to deliver a financial incentive to move four commercial scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects forward. The other is to clarify the role of the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the UK’s energy regulator. The Act also mandates social price support, which means energy companies will have to provide support to the fuel poor. The Energy Act requires the UK government to prepare regular reports on the progress made on the de-carbonization of electricity generation and the development and use of CCS. And it extends the time limit from 12 months to five years within which Ofgem can impose financial penalties on energy suppliers for breaches of license conditions. In addition, the act allows the government to set the period within which energy companies must inform customers of changes to their gas and electricity tariffs and enables action to be taken against unfair cross-subsidy between gas and electricity supply. Explaining the significance of the act, a statement on the Parliament website reads: “The Bill follows on from the low carbon transition plan, published in July 2009. This plan aims to deliver emissions cuts of 34% from 1990 levels by 2020 and of 80% by 2050, while maintaining security of supply, maximizing economic opportunities, and protecting vulnerable consumers. The Bill will deliver some of the primary legislation required by the plan.” Those are some seriously ambitious goals. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the White House announced on Nov. 25, 2009, that President Barack Obama is offering a US target for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. The day after the White House announced the US GHG targets, China said it will reduce the intensity of its carbon dioxide emissions by 40% to 45% by 2020. By definition, carbon dioxide emissions intensity is defined as the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product. So although there wasn’t great cheering and optimism following the United Nations Climate Change Conference (a.k.a the Copenhagen Summit) last December, it appears that a number of countries that are significant emitters of carbon dioxide are making strides toward emissions reduction. I don’t know how optimistic I feel about the chances of meeting the stated goals, but any progress toward curtailing emissions is a step in the right direction.