Tag Archives: climate change

Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: Tell me why you’re green

This week, Nick’s letter is about his speech to the Green Alliance. It summarises what he said, but doesn’ t link to it. Just as well we put it in full here, then. The aim is to drive people to shiny new “Why I am Green” Nationbuilder site. 1329 people have already given their reasons. He’s losing no opportunity to explain why Ed Miliband’s energy price freeze just doesn’t cut it. He’s modified the language a bit, putting in a bit more detail, but is still describing it as the con that it is.

libdem letter from nick clegg

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In full: Nick Clegg’s speech to the Green Alliance

Nick Clegg made an important speech to the Green Alliance this morning, making the case that what seemed like a cross-party consensus on the issue of climate change has now crumbled, leaving the Liberal Democrats as the only major party still committed to preventing the catastrophic warming of the planet:

Labour have undermined what was their one and only green pledge – a decarbonisation target – with a policy that would damage the very industry needed to deliver it. They’re abandoning the environment to score a few populist points. It’s utterly Janus-faced.

Senior members of the Conservative party now openly attack environmental policies as anti-growth, as well as publically question the threat of climate change.

And yet all of us sat to hear Sir Mark Walport, the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, when he came last month and explained to the Government that the recent IPCC report – which made clear the threats posed by man-made climate change – was the most exhaustive, authoritative, peer reviewed report on climate change ever published. How much more hard science is needed to convince the climate change deniers they’ve got it wrong?

The speech also touched on some other, less well-publicised, areas within environmental policy:

In our natural environment, we’ve introduced a presumption in favour of sustainable development, and maintained strong protections for the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Something many of the people in this room were involved in.

We’re on track to plant a million more trees by the end of the parliament – the majority in the most deprived and least green areas.

After a comprehensive review, we plan to launch a new National Pollinator strategy next spring to protect the country’s bees and many other pollinating insects.

We’re reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill and we’re investing in cleaning up England’s rivers, lakes and waterways.

We’ve promoted animal welfare, including ending the practice of keeping laying hens in tiny battery cages and, for the first time, implementing welfare standards for game-birds. We are also strongly committed to working with our international partners to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, and in a few months we’ll be hosting a major international conference in London to agree the action that is needed.

We’re seeing encouraging progress on biodiversity – this year’s biodiversity assessment report shows, for example, more land and sea protected and fish stocks better managed.

We have also now implemented the Marine and Coastal Access Act, which seeks to improve the management and protection of our marine environment and increase public access to our coastal paths: so more people can access the beauty of Britain’s landscape, and we’re going to be saying more about marine conservation shortly.

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Ed Davey forms European green alliance to help Cameron win global race

You might not think that the Liberal Democrat Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey was key to Prime Minister’s David Cameron’s plans to “win the global race”, but you’d be wrong.

Davey is a key proponent of the need to work with allies in Europe to drive through EU reforms that benefit Britain in the world, something we feel strongly about at British Influence.

While a Minister at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, he set up the Like-minded Group of EU ministers, to drive economic growth in the EU and cut back on

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The Climate Parliament: The scientific debate is over – the ball is now in our court

Uttarakhand FloodsThe scientific debate is over.

That’s the message from a network of MPs called the Climate Parliament.

Now it’s down to politicians and policy makers to ensure we avoid a global catastrophe.

The Parliament believes that today’s International Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report is the most comprehensive, detailed account of current climate science. Despite much press scepticism, scientists overwhelmingly agree:

Climate change is real, and it’s already happening.

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It’s global warming, stupid – and it’s gonna be cold

BookerMost of the attention before and after Ed Miliband’s speech has been on energy prices. That’s no surprise. Soaring energy prices hit everyone, but most of all the poor.

Today Nick Clegg has spoken out against Ed Miliband’s energy price freeze. The energy companies meanwhile are floating a four year fixed price deal to lock in their profits in the event of Ed managing to grab the country’s helm.

But the most important contribution to the energy debate is by Tim Farron. In today’s Guardian, he says:

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The Independent View: Conference 2013: Lib Dems must stand up for the environment

For a fleeting moment in May 2010 there was genuine optimism that the environment might be put at the heart of Britain’s political agenda.

With a coalition of Liberal Democrats, praised by many, including Friends of the Earth, for their manifesto’s prioritisation of environmental issues, joining forces with a ‘vote blue, go green’ Tory party, fresh from championing the Climate Change Act, it looked as if yellow and blue really could produce green.

But three and a half years later Cameron’s pledge to lead the “greenest Government ever” now seems little more than a cynical sound bite.

Perhaps less expected is the …

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Opinion: Fracking cannot be at the expense of Climate Change targets

Next Sunday, conference will debate the Green Growth and Green Jobs motion (F10). This wide ranging motion includes, among other things, lines on fracking (56-58) which state:

Permitting limited shale gas extraction, ensuring that regulations controlling pollution and protecting local environmental quality are strictly enforced, planning decisions remain with local authorities and local communities are fully consulted over extraction and fully compensated for all damage to the local landscape

Like many of you I am skeptical about fracking for a number of reasons but primarily because I am absolutely committed to tackling Climate Change, and the lines in the motion do …

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Ed Davey MP writes… Keeping the lights on with greener energy

Hopefully by the time you’ve read this you’ll be aware of the details I announced this morning to secure the future of energy supply for the UK – if not, and excuse the pun –  let me enlighten you.

As you know already, we have a plan in the form of the Energy Bill that is progressing well through Parliament.  The plan essentially addresses a major issue – we need to attract £110 billion of private sector investment to replace the supply we lose as a result of 20% of our power stations closing by the end of this

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Ed Davey MP writes…Green jobs, cleaner energy, keeping the lights on and bills down

The Energy Bill returns to the House of Commons tomorrow. It’s a crucial Bill that will help deliver all of the above, but clearly one issue – the 2030 decarbonisation target for the power sector – has been the focus of much attention over the last few months. Let’s be clear, such a target wasn’t mentioned in any party’s manifesto or the Coalition Agreement, or in the draft Bill when I became Secretary of State. But because we won the argument in Government, and the Bill now provides for a target, Britain will be the first country in the world …

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Andrew George MP writes…Liberal Democrats must defend green promise

It’s crunch time for parties across the political spectrum: will parliamentarians do the right thing for our climate and the UK economy or will they let the sceptics drive investors overseas?

The Energy Bill returns to the Commons next week, just as the Conservatives are retreating to their traditional political stomping grounds in the face of competition from the right. Writing in Lib Dem Voice last month, Nick Clegg noted that: “Compassionate conservatism has been sidelined…the blue team used to claim to have gone green, yet have now publicly denounced the importance of environmental protections”. It’s up to the Liberal Democrats to …

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Ed Davey writes… Europe must stay ambitious on climate change

There has been a lot of talk over the last few weeks about Britain’s place in Europe, but there’s one thing that I hope we can all agree. We need the EU to help prevent climate change.

We are an island nation, a trading nation, dependent on the global market for prosperity – for food, for energy, for many of the products we rely on in. It is unsurprising that the UK was one of the first countries to recognise that significant climate change will directly affect our way of life. And we were the first country to bind …

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Duncan Hames MP writes… Must we continue to use food for fuel?

The European Union is currently committed to ensuring that 10% of each Member State’s transport energy will come from biofuels by 2020. This originated as a well-intentioned attempt to combat climate change, but time has shown that using food for fuel can have devastating impacts on hunger and the environment. I’ve come to accept that it is time for a re-think.

In addition to concerns over their green credentials, biofuels are now recognised to be a key cause of hunger, affecting millions of people in developing countries. The World Bank, OECD, WTO, IFPRI, IMF, and five other UN agencies recommended …

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Opinion: Time for Liberal Democrats to consider new claims about climate change

I have just finished reading what for me is the most thought provoking book I have ever read. I was totally unaware until I read The Chilling Stars by Nigel Calder and Henrik Svensmark that not only does the earth move round the sun, but that the sun moves round the Milky Way Galaxy that we live in. The discoveries of Cosmoclimatology turn the accepted theory about climate change on its head. It challenges the prevailing views about climate change held by our party and offers real scientific evidence that there are much larger drivers of climate change …

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The Independent View: Why Ed Davey should support Tim Yeo for the sake of our energy and environment’

Wind turbine - Some rights reserved by thomas vlIt feels very odd praising a Conservative MP on a Lib Dem website as a member of the Labour party, but that’s exactly what I’m doing today.

The Conservative MP Tim Yeo is taking a principled stand on the Energy Bill and plans to include a ‘decarbonisation target’ amendment as the Bill gets debated in Parliament. He says the Treasury must stop supporting gas and focus on getting a significant percentage of our all electricity from clean sources by 2030.

He told a group of energy investors (FT) in the City:

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LibLink: Ed Davey – not a single penny on energy bills that isn’t in the public interest

Ed Davey - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsIn a speech yesterday at the Fair Energy Summit 2012, Ed Davey said:

I don’t want to add a penny to energy bills that isn’t in the public interest.

I am frankly fed up with commentators suggesting that the Government is deliberately increasing energy bills, when in fact we are doing everything we can to reduce them.

 

 

 

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LibLink: Paddy Ashdown – Fighting climate change is moral, vital, and in our own interests

In the Independent, Paddy Ashdown shares his thoughts on the Doha climate change talks, currently ongoing and being attended by Lib Dem energy and climate change secretary Ed Davey.

Here’s an excerpt of what Paddy has to say:

Despite being in the midst of global recession, it is essential that governments in developed nations recognise that tackling climate change is not just a moral

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The Independent View: Liberal Democrats must not be complicit in Osborne’s dash for gas

Friends of the Earth and the Liberal Democrats have long had similar visions for our energy future: more renewables; phasing out fossil fuels; ramping up energy efficiency. In short, getting pollution and consumer bills down, while increasing energy self-sufficiency.

Everything about this vision is now at stake.

The ‘quad’ – the coalition’s decision-making grouping of Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Alexander – are locked in negotiations with Lib Dem Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey over a 2030 ‘decarbonisation’ target in the Government’s Energy Bill legislation.

Such a target …

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Chris Davies MEP writes: A view from the North (2/3)

You can read the first instalment of Chris Davies’s View from the North here.

It will some as no surprise to members in the North West that I asked them some questions on issues relating to the environment and reform of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

I have led on environmental issues for the pan-European Liberal group in the Parliament since 1999, but since being re-elected in 2009 I have made sustainable reform of the CFP my biggest policy priority.

I asked whether members agreed with the majority of the world’s scientists that the climate is changing. 88% agreed and only …

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The Independent View: Will Osborne gas the Lib Dems’ green credentials?

Ed Davey’s announced this week that he’d secured an important concession from the Chancellor over wind farm subsidies – but at what cost?

Although there was understandable relief over the certainty this move gave to investors in clean British energy it seems the victory may have come with a hefty price tag: an agreement to burden our electricity system with dirty and increasingly expensive gas for decades to come – despite the enormous damage this could cause to both the economy and planet.

Ed Davey’s success in securing a 10 per cent cut in wind farm subsidies – to reflect the …

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Edward Davey MP writes: The greenest government ever – at an affordable price

The announcement I made today of the levels of support for renewable generation for the period 2013-17 will unlock generation and network capital investment worth £20-25 billion between 2013 and 2017 This is the kind of sustainable long run growth and green jobs we need to get the economy moving again. This is further evidence that pursuing green policies can bring real economic benefits. The CBI recognised this  in their report earlier this month stressing the need for a stable climate for green investment. I just wish that some of the critics of green growth policies would pay heed …

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Opinion: We can kick start the economy… and might just save the planet too

With all eyes on the elections in Greece and the future of the Eurozone, the Earth Summit in Rio is unlikely to be headline news. But it should be. As Nick Clegg wrote on LDV last week 'sustainability and growth go hand in hand, and it's for us as Liberal Democrats to make that case loud and clear.'

As Liberal Democrats we have been making the case for decades, and over the last two years Liberal Democrat Cabinet Ministers have been forceful advocates around the Cabinet table and around the world. We may know that tackling climate change is essential ...

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LDVideo: Davey on energy policies and climate change action

Lib Dem energy and climate change secretary Edward Davey was asked this week by Andrew Neil why people were being asked to pay more for their power while many were struggling. He said it was “right to pursue climate change policies” and told Andrew Neil that prices of onshore, offshore and solar renewable sources were “coming down fast”. You can watch the interview here:

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Draft Energy Bill: keeping the lights on for now, and for decades to come

Over the next decade, around a fifth of existing power plants are due to close, against a background of projected increased energy demand and increasing energy prices. We need new investment simply to keep the lights on and avoid blackouts becoming a feature of daily life. But we also need investment in electricity generation for our climate change goals. We must decarbonise Britain’s electricity generation, to meet our Carbon Budgets as we transition to a low carbon economy.

We need an estimated £110 billion investment in electricity generation and transmission this decade alone. So we need electricity market reforms to incentivise …

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Liblink: Duncan Brack on how to get green policies implemented in Government

Until recently, Duncan Brack was Chris Huhne’s Special Adviser in the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has written for the Green Alliance blog about the challenges of putting green policies into practice. As well as insight into the practical realities of Government, he has some interesting points to make about the importance of policy making within political parties and how it might need to change in the future:

The coalition agreement hammered out by Liberal Democrat and Conservative negotiators over five days of talks in May 2010 (with details added over the following two weeks) became, at least in

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The Independent View: The major environmental tests facing the Liberal Democrats in 2012 Part 2

In my last post, I looked at the most significant environmental decisions facing the Liberal Democrats here at home in 2012. In this follow up blog, I’ll look at what Nick Clegg and his team can do on the global stage to clean up our economies and help curb the emissions driving dangerous shifts in our climate. As Nick Clegg has said, “Because we are leading by example, we can make stronger demands of the international community.”

International leadership on climate change and the green economy

Chris Huhne wrote in his resignation letter to the Deputy Prime Minister, “Climate …

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The Independent View: The major environmental tests facing the Liberal Democrats in 2012 (Part 1)

The Liberal Democrats have long been seen as the greenest of the biggest three political parties. Now in government, the party is facing tough decisions with huge implications both for our country’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and for wider protection of the natural world.

During his time in office Lib Dem Climate Secretary Chris Huhne won a couple of significant battles with Cabinet colleagues. Most notably, despite opposition from the Chancellor, he won the backing of David Cameron to put into law tough new carbon targets for the 2020s that were recommended by their independent advisers the Committee on …

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Andrew Stunell MP writes… The Building Regulations: Taking the next step towards zero carbon homes

As some of you may know from my previous postings, one of my responsibilities in Government is the Building Regulations. So far, so dull, right? On the face of it, you might be forgiven for thinking so, but the building regulations offer a number of key tools and levers to tackle the carbon emissions produced from our buildings. Yesterday, I announced a Government Consultation on the latest proposals for upgrading the building regulations, and they contain a number of key proposals to significantly improve the sustainability of our built environment.

The upgrading of the building regulations

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Opinion: If Cameron won’t attend Rio+20 then Clegg should

The Rio ‘Earth’ Summit in 1992 was the “world’s biggest ever political gathering” with 108 heads of state or government. Its successes and failures on the environment and development continue to shape those debates.

In June, Rio de Janeiro will host the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, a.k.a. Rio+20. A very early draft document suggests it will cover a wide range of topics, including access to food, water and energy; marine litter and pollution; eliminating “market distorting and environmentally harmful subsidies including those on fossil fuels, agriculture and fisheries” (I’ll believe it when I see …

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LibLink: Mark Pack – The three stories that really matters – even to Britain

Over on his work blog, the Voice’s Mark Pack has a post looking at three important stories which have been largely overshadowed by the domestic political ramifications of the prime minister’s veto.

Here’s the first issue Mark identifies:

The actual significance of the summit was the latest, most extensive and more desperate attempt to save the Euro. Judging from initial reactions by economists and the financial markets, this time a Euro summit may just have pulled it off. It has not already been written off as a failure which, compared to other summits on the same theme, already makes it more successful

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Chris Davies MEP writes… Slipping deeper into the tar sands

Last week we published Liberal Democrat minister Norman Baker’s defence of his approach to the tar sands issue. Here Chris Davies MEP explains his view…

The weak and obfuscating position on tar sands being taken by the Coalition Government is an embarrassment to every Liberal Democrat who wants to believe that having our representatives in office will advance the environmental agenda.  It may stem from nothing more than Whitehall’s traditional “Brits know better than Brussels” arrogance, but it is wrong-headed nonetheless.

The EU’s Fuel Quality Directive encourages oil producers the world over to lower the carbon intensity of their products in …

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