Over the past two weeks, a row has been raging about the government’s efforts to tackle climate change. Richard George, Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace UK, has written a guest blog for 38 Degrees members as an update on what this row is all about. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Right now, the government is drafting a new law – the Energy Bill – that will decide what the future of our energy supply looks like. This could be a big chance to invest in clean, renewable energy. But Chancellor George Osborne and the Treasury have been interfering.
As it stands, the Energy Bill would encourage a disastrous ‘dash for gas’ that would push up energy bills and threaten our climate. Nick Clegg and the Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey, need to stand up to George Osborne and clean up the Energy Bill.
Osborne’s dangerous demands include building more gas-fired power stations. Gas is expensive and is the main reason why energy bills are rising. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable electricity is falling fast as companies develop more innovative ways to harness the energy of wind, waves and the sun. If you wanted to protect households and businesses from rising fuel bills, you’d prioritise energy saving and renewable electricity.
Gas isn’t just costly – it would make it nearly impossible to get the UK’s emissions under control. Although gas is less polluting than coal, it is a lot more polluting than wind, wave and solar electricity. David Kennedy, the head of the Committee on Climate Change (the independent organisation set up by the government to advise them on how best to tackle climate change) says that building loads more gas plants “would be incompatible with the government’s climate change goals.”
George Osborne’s obsession with gas would be a disaster for our economy and our climate. Instead of listening to Osborne, the government must commit to cleaning up our electricity supply by 2030.
The Committee on Climate Change says that’s exactly what needs to happen if we’re to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and help stop climate change. Last week, a key group of MPs recommended that a legally-binding target to ‘decarbonise’ electricity should be included in the Energy Bill. The Confederation of British Industry has also called for a target so that businesses have the confidence to invest and grow the green economy.
We can’t stand by whilst George Osborne wrecks our energy supply and our climate – someone needs to step in.
38 Degrees members can help play a big role making sure that the government chooses the right path and commits to emission-free electricity by 2030. If enough of us email Nick Clegg we can make sure he steps in and stands up to George Osborne.
Richard George is a climate campaigner with Greenpeace UK
Thanks Richard! What do you think? What else could we be doing together on energy and climate change? Share your thoughts in the comments below.