The Department of Energy and Climate Change has refused to comment publicly on claims energy secretary Amber Rudd misled parliament over progress towards climate change targets.

Yesterday environmental publication The Ecologist exposed emails it had received, purportedly sent by Rudd to other high-ranking politicians, revealing that the UK was at serious risk of missing legally binding targets to reduce carbon emissions by 2020.

The emails claim to reveal Rudd admitting that while the UK is on course to meet milestones in 2017/18, in the years afterwards the “trajectory… increases substantially”, resulting in the UK coming up short by roughly 3.5 percentage points.

In order to meet these targets, the UK would require a further 50TWh of renewable electricity generation. “Publically [sic] we are clear that the UK continues to make progress to meet the target,” the email claims Rudd to have stated.

The emails also show Rudd stating that the country’s failure to meet targets by 2020 would incur repeated fines and a possible judicial review into the matter.

If accurate, the emails would contradict repeated claims by Rudd that the UK is on target to meet 2020 targets, supposed facts that both her and the department have used as reasoning behind the curtailing of subsidy support for both onshore wind and solar PV.