This post is by Chris Huhne, former UK energy and climate change secretary from 2010 to 2012 and current co-chair of ET Index which analyses the carbon risk of worldwide quoted companies. He advises Zilkha Biomass Energy and the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association.
One criticism of British energy and climate change policy over the past few years is that it has involved a ‘dash for renewables’ predicated on high oil and gas prices. That is not true. During my time as secretary of state for energy and climate change, and subsequently, we were careful to balance all three families of low carbon electricity generation: renewables, nuclear and fossil fuels, with carbon capture and storage. The reason? We could not predict the future, and did not know which would turn out the cheapest (or, indeed, what the oil and gas price would be). In a time of great uncertainty, energy policy should be akin to investing in a portfolio of shares for retirement: however good one share looks now, do not put all your eggs in one basket. Read more
This post is by Matthew Duhan, adviser at Global Counsel. It first appeared on Global Counsel’s blog.
On Monday 9 May 2016 at 23:10 something remarkable happened. For the first time since 1882 coal made no contribution to UK electricity generation. At the same moment, Germany, Europe’s leader in renewable energy and home to the Energiewende (‘energy transition’), was generating three quarters of its electricity from a mixture of hard coal and even more polluting lignite (see graph below). Read more
This essay, by Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, also appears in Green conservatism: protecting the environment through open market, published last week by Green Alliance. There are similar collections under ‘Green social democracy’ and ‘Green liberalism’ projects as part of Green Alliance’s Green Roots programme, which aims to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK. This has also been published on BusinessGreen.
As things stand, energy risks becoming the most divisive issue within the Conservative Party, the place usually held by Europe. On one side are the Roundheads, determinedly modern, concerned about climate change and convinced renewable energy holds the key to future prosperity and environmental nirvana. On the other, the Cavaliers, dismissive of climate change and convinced that the right combination of tax relief and shale gas will enable the UK to reclaim its glory days as an energy exporter. Read more
This post is by Peter Franklin, former Conservative policy adviser and speech writer. It first appeared on Conservative Home and is an extract from the forthcoming collection of essays Green conservatism: protecting the environment through open markets. Similar collections are being published under Green Alliance’s ‘Green social democracy’ and ‘Green liberalism’ projects as part of Green Alliance’s Green Roots programme, which aims to stimulate green thinking within the three dominant political traditions in the UK.
There’s no use denying it, the environment is a difficult area for the Conservative Party. And the biggest environmental issue, climate change, presents the greatest difficulties.
Although Margaret Thatcher was the first world leader to warn about the threat of global warming, and although David Cameron has famously highlighted the issue too, other prominent Conservatives, including Nigel Lawson and Peter Lilley, have been outspoken in their opposition to the mainstream agenda on climate change. Read more
This article was first published by The New Statesman.
It may surprise some on the centre left but there is nothing innate to Conservatism that makes it less able to take pragmatic decisions in favour of sensible environmental policy. It has had a refreshing ability to acknowledge the intrinsic value of nature and stewardship even if it has become more conflicted about the means to deliver these outcomes. It is a broad church that spans from the one nation Heseltines to the radical free marketeers like John Redwood. But, if there is one thing that unites them, it’s the belief that markets offer most of the answers. Read more