It is all sweetness, light and sisterly love round at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) these days, so much so that Amber Rudd, the Energy Secretary, and her Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, are said, er, to have fallen out so badly that they are no longer on speaking terms. It’s that wretched Brexit thing again, I’m afraid. Sadly, the two find themselves on different sides of the fence, and to the dismay of their officials, giving polar opposite speeches on the implications of leaving the EU for the UK’s energy needs. Ms Rudd, you won’t be surprised to learn, thinks the lights will go out if we leave, whereas Ms Leadsom thinks they’ll go out if we don’t. By my reckoning that means they are going out either way, which, come to think of it, is not a bad way to bet. Ms Leadsom is the minister responsible for overseeing the folie de grandeur of Hinkley Point C, the French designed nuclear power station that is eventually supposed to provide Britain with 7pc of its electricity needs. It’s fair to say that things have not been going well, with repeated delays and projected costs running away with themselves before even a single brick has been laid. After nearly twenty years of dithering, nobody’s betting that the latest deadline of September for a “final investment decision” will be met either.
Telegraph 21st May 2016 read more »
Is the UK doing more than its fair share to tackle climate change and boost clean energy compared to its European neighbours, imposing burdens on heavy industry and undermining its competitiveness in the process? That’s certainly the sentiment expressed by the 15 MPs who sent a letter to Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd earlier this month attacking the government’s climate and energy strategy. That letter – signed by former environment secretary Owen Paterson and fellow Conservative MPs John Redwood and Chris Heaton-Harris – urged the government to delay publishing the fifth carbon budget due to fears it would mean the UK taking more drastic action to decarbonise than other EU member states. Yet the idea the UK is streaking ahead of its European neighbours in tackling climate change isn’t shared by many of their political colleagues, nor by a major new analysis released today by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU). According to ECIU director Richard Black, we are “ahead of the pack on some measures, and behind in others”, adding that as such it is crucial the UK does not step back from its more ambitious climate policies just because of “misleading” suggestions that exaggerate the UK’s performance. “If you look at the overall table Sweden has a clear lead, then really there is a whole batch of countries from France to Greece – covering the majority of EU countries – which are very much in the same ball park,” he told BusinessGreen. “To use a cycling analogy, we are very much in the ‘peloton’.”
Business Green 23rd May 2016 read more »