Phasing Out Coal Is Welcome - But the Government's Plan Makes Little Economic or Environmental Sense
Whilst the coal phase-out is welcome, today's plan makes little economic or environmental sense. If the government is serious about combating climate change whilst keeping bills down for families and businesses across the UK, it must back the best renewable energy sources now in order to create a sustainable power system fit for the 21st century.
Whenever David Cameron talks about the importance of climate action over the next few months, remember this is the guy who oversaw a government unnecessarily roll back much-needed policy. In politics, credibility is a difficult resource to reclaim once it's lost, as Cameron has learnt in Brussels. He may be about to learn that lesson again in Paris.
We Do Not Want to Go to War With the Government - But Things Are Going Rapidly in the Wrong Direction
The NGOs who signed the letter to the Prime Minister do not want to go to war with the Government. We welcome the Government's good intentions, not least its aspiration that ours should be "the first generation to leave the natural environment of England in a better state than that in which we found it". But things are going rapidly in the wrong direction.
I want us to develop greener and cost-effective energy, but the targets designed to achieve that perversely have the opposite effect. If we weren't mismanaging energy so badly, perhaps we could find means that don't cost the earth - in more ways than one.
In a recent article for The Times, Tim Montgomerie declared that the green movement is finished, citing unaffordable subsidies, ineffective policies and cost as the reason that 'all over the world green politicians are presiding over... climbdowns' and turning away from a sustainable future. Such weighty statements were surely intended to catch the attention of his critics, and they have not failed to do so.
An analysis published last year by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and International Energy Agency found that gas, oil and coal companies in the UK have been receiving more than £3 billion a year in the form of tax breaks and other incentives for production and consumption.