Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cabinet Reshuffles and Green Solar Energy

The media was working itself up into a frenzy of anticipation waiting for details of the cabinet reshuffle yesterday. 
I was interested as I'd been hoping for more "Green" politicians who took less of an interest in their electoral prospects than ensuring the planets prospects improved. 

The goals for the UK government to be reached by 2020 are legally binding, with the Climate Change Act of 2008 setting the objectives in law. The legal requirements are that there will be a reduction in the levels of carbon emissions of 34% by 2020 and a reduction of 80% by the year 2050. 
These reductions are based on a starting balance of the emissions generated in 1990. The fall is made up of three stages; a 22% reduction by 2012, a 28% reduction by 2017, with the target figures being reached by 2020. These cuts are also contributing to the European Union's target emission reduction of 20%. 

So. What did the reshuffle do as far as leadership towards these targets?

We seem to have a committed environmental ally in Tim Yeo......
Tim is chairman of the influential Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, which is supposed to examine Britain’s approach to renewable energy with a cold and neutral gaze, unencumbered by outside interests. He’s a Tory who chairs the Commons climate committee but earns £140,000 from green firms. 

"We have to work harder to find places where wind farms are acceptable to communities," he said. "Frankly, we need to be prepared to bribe them."

Unless, of course, the community happens to be in his backyard. At a public meeting in September, 2010, he backed his own constituents, who were outraged by plans for a wind farm at the Chedburgh airfield beauty spot.

Obviously, he wasn't a director of the company planning the wind farms in this instance!

It seems strange to me that the chairman of such an important committee for climate change is allowed to have such a substantial vested interest in the advancement of specific technologies and companies. Yesterday the committee heard Stephen Fitzgerald of independent supplier Ovo Energy state: 

“We've been in business three years now and the competitive environment has never been so poor.” also “In a competitive market, prices could be lower.”
in addition “Confusion around energy prices and bills has made it difficult to for customers to find value.”

Tim Yeo has been chairman of this committee for nearly two years. Surely during that time some of these obvious and recurring problems should have been addressed and solved?

11/09/2012: In an update to this story, Tim Yeo has resigned a number of directorships, but still remains chairman of the committee. Link to update.


Unfortunately, that's not the worst of it...We also have a new environment secretary, Owen Paterson
Whatever Mr Paterson is, he's not an environmentalist as you or I would recognise. In May 2012, he reportedly told the Cabinet that it should end all energy subsidies, such as those for wind and solar power, and fast-track shale gas exploitation.
Bizarrely, he's allegedly  "sceptical" on the science of climate change. This would shatter any ambition for the UK of keeping to targets for renewables or greenhouse gases. 

               Can you see where your house will be when the ice-caps melt?

So, we have a chairman of the "Energy and Climate Change Committee" fully committed to alternative energy sources.(As long as it's not in his back yard) , and an Environment Minister who's in denial about what's causing the massive changes to our climate.

I feel as if I can sleep more soundly, knowing the countries future is in safe hands.... 


Twitter: (@solaricarus)

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