Will Nick Clegg stand up for the Climate Change Act and stop the dash for gas?

Posted by Richardg — 26 July 2012 at 11:15am - Comments
All rights reserved. Credit: Steve Morgan / Greenpeace
Davey and Clegg need to commit to carbon-free electricity by 2030

The future of the UK's energy supply - and our ability to hold back climate change emissions in Britain - is hanging in the balance. Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems must intervene to protect the Climate Change Act from George Osborne and his mates in the gas lobby.

We are standing at a crossroads. In one direction lies a sustainable future, with clean energy powered by the sun, wind and waves that stabilises our energy bills. In the other, our energy comes from gas and this polluting, expensive fuel sends bills soaring and makes it all but impossible to drive down our climate change emissions.

You may think I'm exaggerating. If only that were true. "The government has a big decision to make: are we going to build a low-carbon power system or are we going to have a second dash for gas?" says David Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change (paywall warning), the government's independent advisers. "The economically sensible thing is to deliver a low carbon power system."

So what's wrong with gas? Simple: it's been driving up our energy bills, increasing our dependence on imports, and pushing us into higher and higher levels of carbon emissions. Over the past decade, our fuel bills have almost doubled and our over-dependence on imported gas is the culprit. The Committee on Climate Change say that in order to meet our legal climate change commitments, our electricity system should be nearly free of carbon emissions by 2030. We can't do that if we're still hooked on gas.

Instead of protecting households and businesses from rising gas prices, Chancellor George Osborne wants gas to play an even greater role. He's courting the fossil fuel lobby and pandering to the anti-green rump of the Conservative Party - many of whom deny climate change is even happening.

This week, we learned that Osborne had written to Liberal Democrat Ed Davey - the government minister responsible for energy and climate change - demanding that he turn the UK into a "gas hub" and scrap any plans to decarbonise our electricity supply or introduce new targets for renewable energy.

The situation risks getting out of control. We can't allow George Osborne to play politics with our climate or our green economy. Ed Davey and Nick Clegg need to make a clear, unambiguous commitment to carbon-free electricity by 2030 - and they need to do it now, before the Chancellor's rot spreads any further.

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