In what was presumably meant to be a hilarious jape to regale his peers with down at the Commons bar, Liam Byrne’s famous note was a massive backfire.

The “I’m afraid there is no money” note made Labour look casual about leaving the public (that’s you and me dear reader) purse in such a perilous state. It was no surprise that Cameron brandished it on the 2015 election trail. Nor was it a surprise that the then Coalition government would refer so often to “mess it has inherited”.

Come 2020 (or sooner), whichever party next forms a government may well find a letter on Amber Rudd’s recently cleared desk reading “I’m afraid there is no carbon”. The carbon budget could well be the next bit of accounting that the country finds itself struggling to balance.

The UK is already behind on its EU renewable energy target and future deployment looks bleak. Solar needs a few years to find a financially sustainable balance. Onshore wind is being attacked through planning regulations and subsidy cuts. Offshore wind, the most expensive of the three, is still the darling of Whitehall but as a centralised technology dominated by the usual utility and big power investors, it doesn’t do much to modernise the way we use energy.

The government seems keen to back technologies that remain on the wrong side of the horizon. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a prime example. After lengthy technology competitions it was faced with the prospect of a project ready to take funding and deploy, so HM Government bailed.

There are fears the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project could be next. Nice long timelines deferred the project into the next parliament but now, with the project knocking over successive hurdles, there has been silence on the proposed Contracts for Difference funding.

Hinkley is another long play. It allows this government to take credit for the inward investment and job creation but defers construction delays, budgeting issues and all the headaches of decommissioning till another day. Not to mention the full and frank realisation of how far above wholesale cost that CfD price is. If the government was canny it would have linked the rate of the CfD to the impact of the Merit Order Effect. As it stands, the more wind and solar we have online alongside Hinkley, driving down the wholesale cost of power, the more it will cost the sitting government (read: you and I dear reader) to meet the contractual obligations agreed with EDF. It’s a massive incentive to keep renewables off the grid and wholesale prices high.

So let’s review. No CCS. The worst energy efficiency in Europe apart from Ireland (and even they’ve hugely ambitious plans) and Slovenia, already behind on renewable deployment targets, less than five years of Hinckley’s low carbon benefits prior to 2030, more road and house building planned and needed (respectively), airport expansions around the corner, no substantial EV strategy, a loss of appetite in Holyrood to back the once promising wave sector, potentially leaky fracking drills sites on the cards (whether you like it or not) and the flagship green investment programme has been tarred, feathered and sold to the private sector.

On the current track, I just don’t see how the UK will meet its own carbon budget, it’s surely all accounted for. When the UK delegation has to report to the UN on its progress toward the Paris pledge they may wish to instead just send a short letter.