Lynne Featherstone has joined forces with Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity to talk about how the EU helps the renewable sector.
Just one year of a Tory-only Government we have seen a dangerous unravelling of the green actions of the Coalition. Our investment in the renewable sector made Britain the fastest growing green economy in Europe, created jobs and set solar and wind power on a path to becoming subsidy-free. This progress has been flung into jeopardy by a Government that has not made much effort to hide what it thinks of this “green crap”.
The renewable sector should be seen as an exciting area of innovation and growth, at a time when countries around the world are increasing their investment in green technology in response to global pressure to tackle climate change and domestic pressure to improve air quality. The UK is already a world leader in offshore wind and has the potential to establish this status in other areas such as tidal.
But instead of building on our competitive advantage and strengthening Britain’s reputation as a hub for green innovation, the Government has cut subsidies to unsustainable levels. It has failed to work with the industry to phase these out at an appropriate pace, while in contrast fossil fuel subsidies have been given a nine year phase out period recently by the G7.
Due to Britain’s leading role in Europe on climate change, the EU has ambitious targets for carbon reduction. These were achieved by Britain’s influencing power despite reluctance from countries including Germany and Poland.
These legally-binding targets may prove vital in Britain’s fight against climate change in the face of a Conservative Government that does not have a green agenda. A future leadership change could make this all the worse.
The EU is now on the right track leading the world in tackling this global threat and while it was Britain that got it there, it’s now Britain that needs its protection.
* Lynne Featherstone was the MP for Hornsey and Wood Green from 2005 to 2015, and served as a minister in both the Home Office and Department for International Development. She blogs at www.lynnefeatherstone.org.