I may be being ignorant, or naive, but I don't quite get this week's soft-pedaling on the renewable energy target.
Not only do we have what most thinking people believe is the huge problem of climate change to deal with, but we also have two inter-related problems that will be looming even if some miracle happens and it turns out the scientists are all wrong, George W Bush is right (which on the track record seems unlikely), and climate change isn't as serious as expected:
1) Peak oil. The stuff is going to run out. There is a finite supply of it. Possibly we are already past the high point of oil supply and it is running out. And there are a billion plus Chinese just starting to enjoy products made from and powered by it. It won't run out tomorrow or in a decade or two's time but it will run out medium term enough that we need to start finding other ways to generate energy now-ish and start just using oil for the stuff you can only use oil for.
2) Security of energy supply. The places the dwindling supply of oil come from include some of the most politically unstable areas in the world. It's a good idea not to have your economic system dependent on imports from places liable to either end up being your enemies or chronically unstable/anarchic. The places where new oil fields are being explored aren't much better. The place where nice cheap gas comes from is currently flexing its muscles with reactivated bomber fleets and new missile systems and drooling over the prospect of having the ability to literally switch the lights off in Western Europe if we don't keep in line politically.
Of course there are huge obstacles to switching to less carbon-intensive energy sources - people get upset about having a wind farm or nuclear power station in the neighbourhood, the transition is extremely costly in terms of equipment in the short term, some of the technologies aren't perfected, etc. etc.
But the triple problem of climate change, the decline in oil supply and insecurity of supply mean that the problems of changing have got to be second order problems compared to the problems of not changing.
This is a set of issues that are so big that governments have to say stuff the electoral consequences and do the right thing. There are large, chunky ways to cut carbon-based energy consumption quickly. Each new nuclear power station provides about 2% of the UK's current energy needs if my memory is correct. Big wave power schemes across major estuaries can provide double or triple that each. Let's just get a move on with building some of both. People will thank us for it in a couple of generations time.
Oh and while we're at it let's ban a few of the most wasteful luxury uses of polluting energy just to set an example - with the new Eurostar line getting to Paris and Brussels so fast how about either banning London-Paris and London-Brussels flights or taxing them so much that they cease to be economically viable... I await someone telling me this is against competition law, in which case let's change the law.