“As we suffer in the heatwave and Greece burns, the Tories are signing off a fracking bill that is laughable”

Harry Cockburn writes in The Independent: “In Greece, the death count may reach triple figures. Wildfires have melted cars, wiped villages off the map and decimated families… What could our governments do to alleviate the carnage? What about some fracking? What about pumping millions upon millions of gallons of water and chemicals down into earth to break rocks to release gas which we can then burn?”

[Read column on Independent website…]

Environmental campaigners slam the Tories’ ‘Road to Zero’ emissions strategy

From Morning Star: The Tory government’s “Road to Zero” strategy to reduce vehicle emissions announced today has been slammed by environmental campaigners.

Morten Thaysen of Greenpeace, described the target of banning the sale of new petrol and diesel-burning cars from 2040 as “weak by international standards.”

“The car industry should be in the doghouse for its diesel pollution and stalling emissions reductions,” he added.

“But instead of being pulled up, it’s yet again being given a free pass from the government to carry on business as usual.”

[Read full article on Morning Star website…]

“Theresa May, charging us for plastic won’t make up for those awful Tory environmental policies you’re keeping quiet about”

Caroline Lucas writes in The Independent… “Stopping climate breakdown won’t happen by tinkering around the edges of an economy reliant on fossil fuels – which is why the Government’s record doesn’t live up to May’s claim today that we are ‘leading the world on climate change’.”

[Read column on Independent website…] 

UK citizens are suing the Tory Government over climate negligence

From OpenDemocracy: The UK government is leading us to climate tragedy, by failing to align its climate change targets with science and international law. So 11 UK citizens, plus the charity Plan B, have started legal action against it.

The Tory Government knows its domestic target for carbon emissions reductions by 2050, unchanged since 2008, is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement. It does not deny this, but makes lame excuses about the difficulty of setting a more ambitious target.

[Read full article on OpenDemocracy…]

Environment groups are disappointed with the Budget’s lack of commitment on renewables

From City AM: Environment groups were disappointed by a lack of ambition for renewable energy in today’s Autumn Budget.

The Budget confirmed there would be no fresh funds for new renewable energy projects levied through electricity bills until 2025 to help keep energy costs down.

It said: “In order to protect consumers, the government will not introduce new low carbon electricity levies until the burden of [energy] costs are falling. On the basis of the current forecast, this means there will be no new low carbon electricity levies until 2025. All existing commitments will be respected.”

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) said it welcomes the move to a subsidy-free future, but the industry needs urgent clarity on how the government is planning to bring new projects forward, especially for less developed technologies like tidal and advanced waste-to-energy.

Read more

UK trade minister lobbied Brazil on behalf of oil giants

From The Guardian: The Tory government successfully lobbied Brazil on behalf of BP and Shell to address the oil giants’ concerns over Brazilian taxation, environmental regulation and rules on using local firms, government documents reveal.

Greenpeace accused the department of acting as a “lobbying arm of the fossil fuel industry”.

Rebecca Newsom, senior political adviser at Greenpeace, said: “This is a double embarrassment for the UK government. Liam Fox’s trade minister has been lobbying the Brazilian government over a huge oil project that would undermine the climate efforts Britain made at the UN summit in Bonn. Read more

Tory Government’s ‘outdated’ onshore wind ban blocks cheapest form of new energy, says report

From BusinessGreen: ECIU analysis finds 1GW of new onshore wind would cost £30m a year less than 1GW of offshore wind and £100m less than new nuclear or biomass.

The government’s “outdated” ban on developing new onshore wind farms on mainland Britain is blocking access to the cheapest available form of new electricity generation, and having a negative impacts on bills, climate change targets, and businesses.

[Read full article on BusinessGreen website…]

Solar subsidy cuts lead to loss of 12,000 jobs

From The Guardian: More than 12,000 solar power jobs have been lost in the past year because of government subsidy cuts, according to the industry.

A third of solar jobs have likely been lost in the UK, found the report by PwC for the Solar Trade Association (STA), based on a survey of 238 companies, around 10% of the industry.

The losses are in addition to around 1,000 jobs that disappeared when several companies went into administration in a matter of weeks last year, but less than some dire predictions that forecast 18,000 jobs being axed.

Read more

The Observer view on the Tories’ shameful record on climate change

Observer editorial: Since the election, the government has performed a series of dizzying U-turns on its green policies. It has announced cuts to subsidies for onshore wind and solar energy; scrapped the zero carbon homes standard; ended the green deal for home insulation; and reversed its promise to exclude national parks from fracking.

to scrap many subsidies and regulations altogether will be hugely damaging to Britain’s efforts to reduce emissions and is antithetical to Mr Cameron’s 2010 pledge to lead the “greenest government ever”. It is vital that any framework provides long-term certainty to encourage private investment in green technology. Any reform therefore needs to be gradual and signalled well in advance to maintain industry confidence. But to the alarm of green NGOs and business groups alike, the government has ripped up its green policy framework overnight. This will have a long-term effect on investment, and not just in the green sector: business will question whether they can take government commitments at face value.

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Al Gore puzzled by UK cuts to renewable energy support

From The Guardian: The former vice president of the US, Al Gore, has called on the British government to resume its former leadership on climate change, in order to forge a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions this December at a crunch conference in Paris.

While saying he would not interfere in other countries’ politics, Gore said he was “puzzled” by the Conservative government’s measures to roll back support for renewable energy.

Citing a range of recent government actions – such as slashing subsidies for solar and wind power, and ending support for energy efficiency in homes – he said he could not understand the rationale for such measures, while climate change presents a clear danger to the UK and the rest of the world.

“Will our children ask, why didn’t you act? Or [will they] ask, how did you find the moral courage to rise up and change?” he demanded of a business audience at a climate change debate in London on Tuesday.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

UK risks missing its carbon targets, climate advisers warn

From The Guardian: The UK risks missing its carbon targets and harming investment because of a string of recent cuts to green measures, ministers have been warned by the government’s statutory climate advisers.

Lord Deben, the chairman of the committee on climate change and a former Conservative environment minister, has written a strongly-worded letter to energy secretary Amber Rudd to tell her that the government is creating confusion among potential investors in the low carbon economy.

His words chimed with those of John Cridland, director general of the CBI and widely regarded as the most senior voice in British business, who on Monday said the government was sending a “a worrying signal about the UK as a place for low-carbon investment”.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

The nine green policies killed off by the Tory government

From The Guardian: Amber Rudd has been accused of “grotesque hypocrisy” today for claiming the government is leading on climate change while overseeing a string of attacks on green policies. Some environmentalists say it’s the worst period for environmental policy in three decades.

We’ve rounded up the green measures that have been axed or find themselves in the firing line, to show the breadth and scale of the changes.

  • Scrapping support for onshore wind
  • Solar subsidies to be axed too
  • Biomass hit too
  • Killing the flagship green homes scheme
  • Selling off the green investment bank
  • Watering down the incentive to buy a greener car
  • Giving up on zero carbon homes
  • Fracking in Britain’s most important nature sites
  • Goodbye green tax target

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Tory Government kills off flagship green deal for home insulation

From The Guardian: The UK government has effectively killed its flagship scheme to insulate homes because it says take-up has been too low, but has admitted it has nothing to replace the programme with.

The green deal was hailed as “transformational” and the “biggest home improvement programme since the second world war” by ministers when it was launched in 2013.

But the number of householders taking out the unique loans at the heart of the energy efficiency scheme were much lower than had been hoped, with just over 15,000 issued or in progress according to statistics.

On Thursday the Department of Energy and Climate Change said it was ceasing financing to the Green Deal Finance Company which issues the loans, and was bailed out by the government last November with a £34m loan. Today’s move is expected to lead to the company immediately halting the issuing of new loans, although existing ones or loans in progress – known as ‘green deal plans’ – will not be affected.

The government also said it was ditching another element of the scheme, known as the green deal home improvement fund, which saw cashback paid to householders who installed measures such as a new boiler or cavity and solid wall insulation.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Solar power subsidies cut might save just 50p on average electricity bill

From The Guardian: The government has unveiled plans to slash subsidies to solar power projects in an attempt to drive down annual household electricity bills, but later admitted it might save customers just 50p a year.

Industry executives warned the latest attack on renewables would take Britain “back to the dark ages”, hitting jobs and investment while damaging David Cameron’s credibility on tackling climate change.

Ministers have targeted larger solar installations of less than 5 megawatts – enough to power 2,500 homes – in a consultation on the early closure of the renewable obligation (RO) subsidy in April 2016.

The government also announced a review of another subsidy, the feed-in tariff, to make further significant savings in a move that could threaten state support for solar panels on roof tops.

In addition, ministers are to remove the guaranteed level of subsidy for coal or other fossil fuel power plants that switch to greener fuels such as biomass – generated by burning plants or wood pellets. The government says the move could save £500m a year from 2020 onwards.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

Tory Government scraps zero carbon homes plan

From The Guardian: Housebuilders, planners and green groups have condemned the government for scrapping plans to make all new UK homes carbon neutral.

The zero carbon homes policy was first announced in 2006 by the then-chancellor Gordon Brown, who said Britain was the first country to make such a commitment.

It would have ensured that all new dwellings from 2016 would generate as much energy on-site – through renewable sources, such as wind or solar power – as they would use in heating, hot water, lighting and ventilation. This was to be supported by tighter energy efficiency standards that would come into force in 2016, and a scheme which would allow housebuilders to deliver equivalent carbon savings off site.

However, both regulations were axed by the government on Friday, in a move Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said was “the death knell” for the zero carbon homes policy.

Read more

Tories plan to sell £1.4bn stake in Green Investment Bank to pay off debt

From The Guardian: The government’s commitment to low-carbon technology has been called into question as it prepares to raise more than £1bn by selling a majority stake in the Green Investment Bank, the project that was a central promise in the Conservatives’ 2010 manifesto.

Sajid Javid, the business secretary, will announce the plan at the bank’s annual review meeting on Thursday. The government is likely to keep a stake in the bank but could sell off as much as 70%.

The bank is likely to be valued at a small premium to its assets, or loans, which are currently about £2bn, suggesting that the Treasury could raise £1.4bn or more from the stake sale that will be used to pay off government debt.

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

David Cameron at centre of “get rid of all the green crap” storm

From The Guardian: David Cameron was at the centre of a storm on Thursday over whether he ordered aides to “get rid of all the green crap” from energy bills in a drive to bring down costs.

The language, attributed to Cameron in the Sun newspaper by a senior Tory source, sparked a furious reaction from campaigners accusing the prime minister of abandoning his promise to run the greenest government ever.

Although Downing Street said it did not “recognise” the phrase as one used by the prime minister, Cameron’s team has not explicitly denied that he had ever referred to environmental policies as “green crap”.

The Sun quoted an unnamed source as saying: “The prime minister is going round Number 10 saying: ‘We have got to get rid of all this green crap’. He is totally focused on it. We used to say: ‘Vote blue, go green’, now it’s: ‘Vote blue, get real’.”

[Read full article on Guardian website…]

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