High praise from the Telegraph for Chris Huhne, and deservedly so. Environmental correspondent Geoffrey Lean says Huhne “has been playing a blinder” through the introduction of the Green Investment Bank and the fourth Carbon Budget:
Over the last two weeks, as the crisis he faces steadily deepened, he has been the driving force behind two of the most momentous decisions any administration has taken, ones that could shape Britain’s economic development for the rest of the century, and beyond.
Last week the government adopted the world-beating goal of cutting carbon emissions to half 1990 levels by 2025. No other country, as Nick Clegg put it, “has set legally-binding targets in this much detail, so far ahead”. And then yesterday it announced that it was setting up an effective, independent, statutorily-based, Green Investment Bank, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Taken together, they seem set to make David Cameron’s pledge to run “the greenest government ever” – which was in danger of becoming a national joke – a sober reality. The environmentalists who were so loud in writing government off just a fortnight ago are now looking green in more senses than one.
Both decisions were cliffhangers. Both were pushed by Huhne, resisted by Chancellor George Osborne and Business Secretary Vince Cable, and resolved only at the last minute by a top level intervention – from the Prime Minister over the target and his deputy over the bank. By widespread consent they would not have gone the way they did without the Energy and Climate Change Secretary’s commitment, competence and sheer cussed combativeness, and – though not greatly loved at Westminster – he has won wide respect for his nerve under fire. Whatever now happens to him – and environmentalists are desperately hoping he survives – he has achieved more in a year than most top politicians manage in a lifetime.
Read the full piece at the Telegraph.