We know there’s more joy in heaven about one sinner who repents than about 99 just persons, but William Hague lauding the government’s green record and calling on colleagues (in a leaked letter) to “avoid losing global leadership on the environment” takes the biscuit. This is a government that seduced voters before the last election with the slogan ‘vote blue and go green’ and then claimed later with breathtaking hubris that it was ‘the grrenest government later’. As it’s turned out, vote blue and it’s gone brown. The Tory Right, nearly a third of the parliamentary party, has been persistently up in arms against everything environmental, and to their shame Cameron-Osborne have caved in at almost every point. Here’s the 10-point record.
1 The wind energy industry, where Britain could be a world leader, has been thrown into disarray by a published letter to Cameron calling on him to withdraw subsidies to renewable sources of energy and stick with nuclear and fossil fuels,
2 Labour introduced feed-in-tariffs to encourage low carbon generation, but last October the Tories slashed FIT funding by 50% putting at risk 25,000 jobs in the industry and leaving 86% of households no longer eligible for solar subsidies,
3 After 1 year of this government the UK dropped out of the global top 10 for low carbon investment,
4 In February last year the government cut funding to the Carbon Trust by 40% so that the the R&D of many projects was haltedwhich the Trust estimated could have realised over £1bn in revenues for UK businesses by 2030,
5 In its so-called Plan for Growth the government U-turned on its commitment that all new homes would be sero carbon by 2016,
6 The government introduced the green investment bank with great fanfare, but then refused to fund it as a bank so that it couldn’t leverage funds from the private sector as any ordinary bank would,
7 The government’s grandly entitled Electricity Market Reform turned out to be a mechanism to deliver a hidden subsidy for nuclear which they had given repeated assurances would never be provided from public funds,
8 Cameron allowed Conservative MEPs to vote against increasing the EU carbon reduction target from 20% to 30% by 2020, despite it being a key pledge in his own Coalition agreement,
9 Though in October 2009 Cameron pledged to introduce rules requiring new power stations to be as clean as a modern gas plant, he reneged on this in November 2010 by allowing new coal plants to pump almost double that level of carbon emissions,
10 In the face of the decline in North Sea oil and gas, the looming early likelihood of peak oil, and the UK’s growing dependence on volatile African and Middle Easter state for its fuel, the government has no sure plan to prevent the lights going out at the end of this decade.