Reshuffle UK Climate Policy
Getting Rid Of The 'Green Crap'?
The reshuffle has also seen energy and climate change minister, Greg Barker, resign. Barker was one of a few true Tory greens, who saw the danger of global warming and the opportunity of the fast-growing green economy. The replacements for Paterson, Barker, Fallon and Hague may yet surprise us, but as it stands the Conservative Party are set to go into the next election with a very different position on the environment than the “vote blue, go green” of 2010. They have got rid of the “green crap”. –Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 15 July 2015
Greg Barker, the Tory climate minister – who posed with David Cameron in the Arctic eight years ago – is stepping down from the government in a vivid symbol of the Conservative party’s changing priorities. His position had become increasingly precarious as the Tory leadership is shifting away from its one-time pro-green rhetoric. --Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 14 July 2014
The new set of Conservative environment and energy ministers announced on Tuesday bring a track record of opposing renewable energy, having fought against wind and solar farms, enthusiastically backed fracking and argued that green subsidies damage the economy. New energy minister, Matthew Hancock, signed a letter to David Cameron in 2012 demanding that subsidies for onshore wind farms were slashed. New environment secretary and former Shell employee, Liz Truss, dismissed clean renewable energy as “extremely expensive” and said it was damaging the economy. --Damian Carrington, The Guardian, 15 July 2014
In 2010 Mr Cameron entered Downing St promising: “This will be the greenest government ever.” Mr Barker said he wanted Britain to become the “Saudi Arabia of green energy” while London could become the “global hub of green finance”. But the arrival of Lynton Crosby, the Australian pollster and lobbyist, as the Tory’s election supremo in November 2012 marked a shift in direction towards a more right-wing message focused on the economy, immigration and welfare. At the same time David Cameron was quoted last autumn saying that he wanted to cut the “green crap” – referring to the environmental measures which added to household energy bills. --Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 14 July 2014
The Climate Change Committee said Britain needs to “strengthen” its policies and do more to boost renewable energy such as windfarms. It said that without tougher action Britain will miss its 31 per cent target of cutting emissions by 2025. Critics warned that households which already pay an average £1,264 for electricity and gas would face higher bills if the Government follows the CCC’s advice. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation said: “UK households and consumers already face a cumulative £50 billion bill for renewable energy subsidies by 2020 in the form of the green Levy Control Framework. If the CCC’s post-2023 proposal were to succeed, the additional costs would be astronomical. This is politically unsustainable.” --John Ingham, Daily Express, 15 July 2014
The row between former chancellor Lord Lawson and the BBC has escalated over the past week. Even if you believe global warming is happening and it’s a significant problem, it is lazy thinking to believe this scientific insight means “Case Closed” and that the policy response is obvious. You also have to tot up what the consequences of global warming might be, the costs and benefits of different policies, and work out who picks up the tab. This requires a much-needed economic and political debate – and it’s obvious the likes of Lawson and other public figures have much to contribute. --Ryan Bourne, City A.M. 14 July 2014