HomeLow carbon futureAssessment shows government’s energy efficiency policies at risk of failure

Assessment shows government’s energy efficiency policies at risk of failure

At the heart of the Conservative and Lib Dem agreement to form government is the Coalition Programme which sets out what the government plans to do during its five year term.

Now Green Alliance, and four other NGOs-  WWF, RSPB, Greenpeace and Christian Aid- are holding them to their word when it comes to policies to tackle climate change.

Climate Check sytematically assesses progress so far against the Coalition’s low carbon commitments to determine whether the government is on track to deliver its aims.

We conclude that the government has made some good decisions in challenging economic times.  But further progress is being hampered by the lack of a strong low carbon transition strategy and support from senior ministers. The government will have to raise its game considerably, across all departments, if it is not to fail on the majority of its commitments.

When it comes to policies to help people live greener lives, the government has not scored too well. The report concludes the government’s energy efficiency policies are at particular risk of failure. While progress has been made on meeting energy efficiency targets on its own estate, the government has not demonstrated this drive on policies affecting the wider building stock.

The Green Deal is the main game in town, and although it has been heralded a ‘game-changer’ by ministers in DECC, it has weak design, lacks ambition and its implementation is not properly co-ordinated across government.

The vote in yesterday’s Energy Bill against amendments brought by a coalition of over 70 NGOs and businesses to help improve the Green Deal are a case in point. The Bill has now finished its passage through the House of Commons but does not contain any real incentives for energy efficiency to be taken up. Even Ben Moxham, Number 10s advisor on energy policy, acknowledges such incentives are necessary to drive uptake.

Climate Check has a range of recommendations to help government deliver the green jobs, carbon reduction, energy savings and cuts in household fuel bills that the UK needs. Two key asks are for the government to:

  • Put low carbon in the star chamber. Establish a cross-government process led by the Prime Minister or Deputy Prime Minister to review departmental performance and drive cross-government thinking and action. This should help support DECC’s discussions with the Treasury on support for the Green Deal.
  • Set out a high profile green economy vision.  The UK hosts the G20 Clean Energy Ministerial meeting in March-April 2012, this is the prime opportunity for David Cameron to set out his positive green vision for the UK.
Written by

Rebekah is a Green Alliance associate and freelance project manager and policy expert on green living projects. On a national level she specialises in the public communication of climate change and behaviour change policy. On a local level she manages projects that help enable and encourage sustainable living. Previously she led Green Alliance's Green Living theme. Prior to joining Green Alliance Rebekah was the Environment and Transport Policy Analyst for BBC News Analysis and Research. Rebekah has also worked for Elsevier Science in Amsterdam, for Landmine Action in Liberia and for Womankind Worldwide. For more information see