Philip Hammond has warned Theresa May that her plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 will cost the UK over £1tn. In a letter to the prime minister seen by the Financial Times, the chancellor said the cost meant that less money would be available for schools, police, hospitals and other areas of public spending. He also warned that the target would render some industries “economically uncompetitive” without huge government subsidies. The CCC has estimated that reaching net zero will cost £50bn a year, but the department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy puts the figure at £70bn, according to the chancellor’s letter. “On the basis of these estimates, the total cost of transitioning to a zero-carbon economy is likely to be well in excess of a trillion pounds,” he wrote. He added that reaching the net zero target would require heating to be almost entirely decarbonised, leaving households having to replace gas boilers with alternatives such as heat pumps, which cost “three times more”. Homeowners would also need to spend thousands or tens of thousands of pounds on insulation. The chancellor urged Downing Street to support a review by the Treasury that would look at how to minimise the cost of the policy for taxpayers and consumers to prevent “potentially damaging impacts”. He also suggested that the government give itself an “explicit review point”, or a get-out clause to reconsider the target if other countries did not follow suit.
FT 5th June 2019 read more »
The cabinet has reportedly defied its own climate change adviser by carrying forward emission reductions, which have already taken place, into its future carbon budgets. The Financial Times has reported on Tuesday (4 June) that the cabinet has accepted a request by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that 88 megatonnes (million tonnes) of emissions from the 2013 to 2017 carbon budget should be carried forward to give the UK more leeway in meeting future targets. Under the 2008 Climate Change Act, the government has set a series of rolling five-year carbon budgets that set a cap on the level of emissions during the relevant periods. During the second carbon budget, from 2013 to 2017, Britain emitted 384 megatonnes of carbon dioxide, below its cap of 2,782 megatonnes. The government is now proposing that 88 megatonnes should be carried forward, which would make it easier to hit the upcoming and more demanding carbon budgets which kick in from 2023. However, the decision flies in the face of advice issued by the Committee on Climate Change’s (CCC) in February when it urged ministers not to take advantage of the existing rule.
Edie 5th June 2019 read more »
On World Environment Day, the Treasury Committee launches a new inquiry into the decarbonisation of the UK economy and green finance. Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan MP said “Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. With recent protests and demonstrations, it has shot up the political agenda. Whilst decarbonising the UK economy presents significant challenges, it also provides an opportunity for the financial services sector to unlock its green potential. This inquiry will examine how HM Treasury and financial sector firms can support the UK to lead the way in green finance and environmental innovation. Decarbonising an economy doesn’t mean it has to stop growing. The time is ripe to explore how we can make sure that the UK gets this right.”
Parliament 5th June 2019 read more »
Rebecca Long-Bailey said the Labour Party would not reopen coal mines in the UK as she sparred with Theresa May’s de-facto deputy David Lidington as the pair took part in Prime Minister’s Questions. Ms Long-Bailey, often considered a rising star in the Labour Party, took Jeremy Corbyn’s place during the weekly session and appeared to disown some of the comments he had made in 2015 about reopening coal mines, provoking uproar from the Tory benches. The Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was pressing Mr Lidington, whose official title is Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, over the fight against climate change.
The I News 5th June 2019 read more »
The Labour party has accused the government of “actively dismantling” the UK’s solar power industry after new installations by households collapsed by 94% last month. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, used prime minister’s questions to challenge the government’s record on climate action after scrapping subsidies for domestic solar panels from April. Standing in for Jeremy Corbyn, Long-Bailey said solar power had the potential to cut household bills and carbon emissions while creating thousands of jobs. “But the government, for some reason, appears to be determined to kill it off, while continuing to cheerlead for fracking,” she said. (NB – story by Jillian Ambrose who has moved from the Telegraph to replace Adam Vaughan at the Guardian).
Guardian 5th June 2019 read more »
Labour has today accused the government of “running down the clock on our planet” and failing to adequately respond to the “climate emergency”, prompting the de facto Deputy Prime Minister David Lidington to erroneously suggest the UK is on track to meet its current carbon targets. With Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn attending today’s D-Day remembrance events, Prime Minister’s Questions saw Lidington quizzed by Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, who asked why the government is off track to meet its carbon budgets for the mid 2020s and early 2030s.
Business Green 5th June 2019 read more »
Boris Johnson has been challenged by Labour to clearly disavow his previous denial of climate science, after several other Conservative leadership hopefuls said they accepted the reality of the climate emergency. A dividing line between the candidates opened up on the issue after Andrea Leadsom, a Brexit-supporting former cabinet minister, Sajid Javid, the home secretary, and Rory Stewart, the international development secretary, told a One Nation group hustings on Tuesday night they would tackle the climate emergency as a global crisis. Javid got the strongest applause for promising to put the UK’s response to the climate emergency on a similar footing to counter-terrorism. Asked which One Nation values were his priorities, he said: “If you’d asked me that question two years ago, I probably wouldn’t have talked about the climate – climate change. I think that today it’s become much more important and it is something that needs urgent action.” In contrast, Johnson, who was also addressing the hustings, did not express any view on whether there is a climate emergency, according to those present.
Guardian 5th June 2019 read more »
Public concern about the environment has soared to record levels in the UK since the visit of Greta Thunberg to parliament and the Extinction Rebellion protests in April. The environment is now cited by people as the third most pressing issue facing the nation in tracking data from the polling company YouGov that began in 2010. Environment was ranked after Brexit and health, but is ahead of the economy, crime and immigration. Young people rate environmental problems such as the climate crisis and global annihilation of wildlife even higher, placing them second behind Brexit. Almost half of 18- to 24-year-olds chose environmental issues as one of the nation’s three most pressing concerns, compared with 27% of the general population. A similar surge in public anxiety has taken place in Germany, where the Green party performed particularly well in the European parliament elections last month. Across the EU, the number of Green MEPs increased by 40% to 69, making them the fourth-largest grouping. In the UK, the number of Green MEPs rose from three to seven and the party won more votes than the Conservatives.
Guardian 5th June 2019 read more »
Brian Wilson: It won’t be easy to satisfy Greta Thunberg on climate change. Emergencies are not to be taken lightly so I am waiting with interest to find what the UK Parliament and Scottish Government announcements of a climate change emergency add up to.
Energy Voice 6th June 2019 read more »