This post is by the Rt Hon Lord Barker of Battle, minister for energy and climate change from 2010 to 2014.
As we waited last week for the final agreement to emerge from COP21, David Cameron celebrated his tenth anniversary as leader of the Conservative Party, a position won in part because of his call for a fresh, ambitious approach to the environment. His government has now been at the heart of the international efforts that secured an historic climate deal in Paris. Read more
Few political deals deserve to be called historic but, as President Obama tweeted a few minutes after the gavel came down in Paris, “this is huge”. It’s huge because it’s a global agreement which means every country has to review its effort every five years. Historic because it’s a one way street to net zero emissions, and it will accelerate the low carbon technology shift we are already seeing in the global energy economy. Read more
Forget the cuts to the RHI. Ignore halving ECO. The biggest change to the UK’s energy strategy didn’t appear in yesterday’s autumn statement. Instead, a two line note snuck out an hour or so after George Osborne finished his speech confirmed that carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the UK is effectively dead. Read more
UK energy policy took two big steps forward today, after months of self-inflicted damage by a government unclear about what it wanted to achieve.
There remain some big gaps, most notably on energy efficiency, onshore wind and solar, but we now know a lot more: the government is serious about coal phase out and it will give offshore wind a fair crack at the whip. The first two building blocks of its energy policy have been put in place. Read more
The climate for renewable technologies in the UK has been notably inclement lately, ever since the summer’s soggy policy announcements resoundingly dampened investors’ and businesses’ enthusiasm. Now, even the usually resilient edifice of government is leaking.
This post first appeared on BusinessGreen.
Many didn’t believe the Prime Minister would ever agree to make a pledge on climate change. Not in the middle of a general election. And not when Lynton Crosby was so busy getting any barnacles off the boat to ensure that nothing distracted from the long term economic plan. Colleagues inquired what we would do when he didn’t sign. Did we have we a backup plan? Read more
This post is by Ben Goldsmith, founder of green investment business WHEB and chairman of the Conservative Environment Network. It first appeared in The Spectator.
Those on the left tend to think that British Conservatism is a derivative of US Republicanism. But environmental policy shows that it’s a far more pragmatic mix. The latest Conservative manifesto encompasses George W Bush’s marine conservation ambition and Obama’s selective interventions to raise the pace of clean technology innovation. This partly reflects the fact that the environment is still a largely non-partisan issue in British politics, but also that Cameron has protected discrete space for Conservative modernisers to bring forward new green ideas. As one of them I’m pleased with the progress we’ve been able to make. The manifesto commits our party to making ‘almost every car a zero emissions vehicle by 2050′, it reconfirms support for the Climate Change Act and promises to set up a ‘blue belt’ of massive international marine reserves. Read more